Operation Northern Strike Brings Thousands of Soldiers to Camp Grayling

Thousands of soldiers from around the world are firing on all cylinders in Northern Michigan.

It’s called Operation Northern Strike, and it is back in full force.

Every year Northern Michigan’s News Leader follows the National Guard out onto their artillery ranges as they train in the largest military exercise in the state.

Operation Northern Strike involves all of Camp Grayling’s facilities, from Alpena all the way to Crawford County.

9&10’s Cody Boyer joined the soldiers once more to show us a closer look at what the National Guard does best.

More than 2,000 soldiers from multiple nationalities across the world, all working together with different branches of our own military for one large scale exercise.

Now the National Guard, they mean business.

"The largest reserve component training site in the country, 147,000 acres,” Major General Greg Vadnais, Michigan Army National Guard said.

A lot of ground for a tremendous amount of work.

Operation Northern Strike requires all hands on deck.

"The Army, the Marines, the Navy, we have special boat teams from the Navy. To get that synchronized, at the right place on the battlefield at the right time to decisively win is what this exercise is all about,” Vadnais said.

Each branch of the military, including the Coast Guard is following a mock scenario all month.

Involving simulated city attacks and air to ground combat.

"That’s the way we fight. I can tell you, you go into Europe today and we have been involved, as you know, in Latvia for 24 years,” Vadnais said.

Danish soldiers are setting up a parameter around a simulated city making sure that training simulation goes as planned.

"Working hand-in-hand with them, it’s a lot of fun because they bring a different avenue,” Sgt. Justin Gordon said.

Sgt Justin Gordon is a marine from New Hampshire.

He says the live-ammunition scenarios bring all the reality necessary to be prepared for the worst, anywhere.

"It’s very important. It’s just like here. It’s the realism."

Operation Northern Strike will continue to take place until August 12.

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