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Camp Grayling war games teach critical battlefield skills

Last week, President Obama ordered precision air strikes against members of Islamic State, the militant group that’s fighting U.S.-backed ethnic minorities in northern Iraq.  The president has thus far not committed ground forces to the region. Meanwhile, the United States continues air and ground attacks in Afghanistan.  

It goes without saying that land and air-based troops must talk to each other for their mutual safety.  Right now, those two groups are practicing their war games at Camp Grayling in northern Michigan.  This is the third year the Michigan National Guard has hosted Operation Northern Strike.  It’s a huge training exercise that runs for three weeks every August.  There are soldiers and airmen there from about a dozen states, plus Canadian troops and even some from Latvia. Current State’s Kevin Lavery just returned from up north where he watched the maneuvers.  

Credit CPT Brian Anderson / Michigan Army National Guard
Michigan Army National Guard
U.S. Army Blackhawk helicopters land on a simulated battlefield at Camp Grayling. The post is hosting soldiers from across the U.S. for Operation Northern Strike.

Kevin Lavery served as a general assignment reporter and occasional local host for Morning Edition and All Things Considered before retiring in 2023.
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