GRAYLING – Camp Grayling Maneuver Training Center and the Michigan National Guard prepare to host the Joint Exercise Northern Strike 2021, or NS-21. Local communities can expect the week to start slowly and crescendo as the weekend draws nearer to “Foundation Week,” which officially begins July 25.
Starting softly and growing in volume, the population of service members rapidly expands to a count of over 3,000 participants in one weekend. West Virginia Guard is the first unit in the chute, offloading equipment at the airfield rail siding. Soon after other units will follow arriving July 24. Total military service members could exceed 5,000 during the exercise with multi-national participation from the UK, Latvia, and Liberia.
The sound of weapons firing will be very minimal this week in South Camp and the Range 13 Complex. However, the Range 30/Multipurpose Range Complex (MPRC) and Range 40 Complex will have Air-to-Ground range activity from 07:00-19:00. The A-10 and F-16 flights will be typical of the high-speed, tactical engagements occurring each week.
For the MPRC, ALL ROADS and trails from Stephen Bridge Road east to Bald Hill Road will be OPEN to civilian traffic. For the Air to Ground Range, or Range 40 Complex, portions of affected roads and trails will be CLOSED for public safety.
Temporary beach access has been granted by the commander to Lake Margarethe boaters who wish to safely pull into shore, purchase food from one of the three food truck vendors adjacent to the NCO Club, and utilize the picnic tables to enjoy their meal.
However, there may be limitations on accessibility during Northern Strike waterborne operations. Endorsing the community interest in using the beach at Camp Grayling, COL Meyers asks boaters to remain flexible, as the safety of every service member and civilian is of the utmost importance. Use good standoff distances near military vehicles, water and aircraft, and use caution while approaching the beach.