NEWS | April 16, 2021

Spartans Compete During Innovation Arena

By Maj. Jason Welch 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division Public Affairs

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Aspiring innovators from across the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, also known as the Spartan Brigade, presented ideas during a SPARwerx meeting with top leadership at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, April 14, 2021.

Paratroopers from across the Spartan Brigade pitched their projects to brigade and battalion commanders. Each project offered to solve a unique challenge the brigade and its paratroopers face in an Arctic environment. The brigade and battalion command teams then voted whether to provide resources to the project or not.

“Spartan Paratroopers face environmental challenges seldom encountered in the lower 48 states,” said Col. Chris Landers, commander of the Spartan Brigade. “This kind of event gives our aspiring paratroopers a chance to present and pursue their unique solutions for the challenges we face daily in an Arctic environment.”

As the only airborne infantry brigade combat team in the Arctic region, the Spartan Brigade paratroopers conduct airborne operations and tactical training in sub-freezing temperatures for months on end and with extreme fluctuations in day and night lengths.

“Our Paratroopers are our greatest resource,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Alex Kupratty, command sergeant major of the Spartan Brigade. “They will surprise you with their creativity and their tenacity and can be trusted to overcome any obstacle the battlefield or winter weather can throw at them.”

One paratrooper pitched a project to create a three-dimensional, virtual reality walkthrough of jumpmaster procedures. The project would allow paratroopers to use a headset and controls to practice jumpmaster skills in an interactive virtual reality environment.

“I think it’s a great opportunity,” said Staff Sgt. Colby Smith, a paratrooper with the Spartan Brigade’s 725th Brigade Support Battalion. “With this software paratroopers will be able to train themselves, increasing the passing rate of jumpmaster school and keeping current jumpmasters proficient.”

Another paratrooper presented a prototype collapsible sled to assist paratroopers transporting their equipment to the assembly area during airborne operations. Arctic airborne operations can leave paratroopers carrying more than 100 pounds of equipment, weapons, and ammunition through deep snow in extreme temperatures and weather conditions.

The Arena event was organized by the brigade’s digital technology innovation cell, SPARwerx. The SPARwerx initiative crowdsources innovators from across the Spartan Brigade to develop internal technologies, systems, and concepts to maximize the welfare, safety, and efficiency of Spartan paratroopers.