Fort Wainwright, Eielson AFB leaders visit Minto

  • Published
  • By Capt. Faith Hirschmann
  • 354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Army and Air Force leaders from Fort Wainwright and Eielson Air Force Base visited Minto, Alaska, December 14, 2022, to learn about rural Alaskan life and build rapport between the military and the Minto community.

During the visit, leaders from the two Interior Alaska military bases were shown around the town and given a tour of Minto School by members of the Minto Development Corporation and the village council.

“As military members, we move from base to base every few years,” said Col. David Berkland, commander of the 354th Fighter Wing at Eielson Air Force Base. “This visit gave us a better understanding of how Alaskans live in the Interior and how we as military members can be good neighbors and stewards of our bases.”

This visit was the first of its kind held by Minto. The tour included lunch and the opportunity to talk with tribal elders and Minto’s veterans.

“We are three hours north of Fairbanks, and Minto has many war veterans from our community that we honor,” said Cameron Winfrey, director of operations for Benhti Economic Development Corporation. “We are a welcoming community, and we want to share what we have, respectively. We are rich with culture and tradition.”

The base leaders and the Minto community discussed how to hunt and fish respectfully around Minto and how the Minto community can hunt around the installations and military training areas in Interior Alaska.

Toward the end of the visit, the students at Minto School performed traditional songs and dances to share a piece of their culture with the group.

“[Minto is] a good place to travel that is close to Fairbanks, and we live in beautiful country,” said Winfrey. “Come fish and learn of Alaska from some of the oldest Alaskans that there are.”