CAF members and their families guard the trail for iconic race

A Canadian musher races through the Canadian section of the Iditarod Ceremony.
Bradley Farquhar, a Canadian musher from Nova Scotia, salutes members of the Canadian Detachment Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson at the ceremonial start in Anchorage, Alaska. Photo: WO Micheline Bertrand

Tags: | |

By Captain Steve Berath, Canadian Detachment Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson

Members of the Canadian Detachment Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (Cdn Det JBER) in Anchorage, Alaska, and their families, celebrated the 46th start of Iditarod on March 3.

Iditarod, known as the “Last Great Race on Earth”, is an annual sled dog race held in Alaska. Detachment members and their families volunteer every year as trail guards. They establish a security perimeter between spectators and sled teams, and maintain the integrity of the snow trail.

Canadian flags in hand, Cdn Det JBER members and their families got to be up close and personal with Iditarod mushers and their dogs during the ceremonial start held in downtown Anchorage, Alaska.

Mushers are predominantly from the United States, followed by Canada, Norway and Sweden. The event gave the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) community an opportunity to meet the Canadian mushers, and celebrate their impending 1000-mile journey through the challenging topography and adverse weather conditions of winter in Alaska.

The actual race started on Sunday, March 4 in Willow Lake, Alaska, with the teams traveling the 80 miles from Anchorage’s south-central coast towards Alaska’s interior.

“Volunteering for the Iditarod is just one of many things we do as CAF personnel to give back to the local communities we live in. Here in Anchorage, it gives us a chance to interact with members from the local and surrounding community,” Lieutenant-Colonel Scott Marshall, the Commanding Officer of the Cdn Det JBER, said.

Members of Cdn Det JBER are posted in Alaska as part of NORAD, the bi-national command that provides maritime and aerospace warning and aerospace control for Canada and the United States.

Image gallery

  • A Canadian musher races through the Canadian section of the Iditarod Ceremony.
  • A Canadian Iditarod competitor stands by his sled.
  • Three CAF members shoveling snow at the Iditarod Ceremonial Start in Alaska.
Date modified: