The Army base received its name from a famous WWII General Jonathan M. Wainwright. During the first 10 years of its existence as an Army base, it was home to the 171st Infantry Brigade.
In the 1980s and 1990s, it was home to the 6th Infantry Division (Light). In the late 90s and early years of the 21st century, it was home to the 172nd Infantry Brigade (which became the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT) in 2003.)
Today, the Army base houses the 1st brigade of the 25th Infantry Division (new name for the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team) and also Task Force 49, an aviation brigade.
In addition to military duties performed at Fort Wainwright, the base also serves as the base of operations for the Alaska Fire Service. This combination of duties is a far cry from the humble army base created in the 1960s.
One of the reasons it has become so important as a testing ground for troops is the wide range of temperatures experienced. From high 90s in the summer to below zero in the winter, Fort Wainwright has harsh weather conditions on both ends of the spectrum. Still, it has become a very important army base over the years.