The U.S. Army Alaska is now formally investigating reports of "racial Thursdays" at a Fairbanks military base, according to Lt. Col. Alan Brown, public affairs chief with the organization.

On the morning of March 19, U.S. Army Alaska confirmed that they were looking into allegations that a platoon of soldiers at Fort Wainwright were being given a free pass every Thursday to use racial slurs, without any consequences, after a soldier brought the story to the Army Times.

The day the allegations were publicly revealed, Army officials said they had begun an "informal investigation," from which the brigade commander could choose to launch a formal "15-6" investigation. Later that day, the brigade commander opted to take that step, Brown said.

A 15-6 investigation is an administrative procedure intended to gather information and evidence in order to report back to the appointing officer or authority.

"If a brigade commander feels like the situation warrants a more formal review based on allegations, he can assign a 15-6 investigating officer," Brown said. He would not specify what caused the investigation to be upgraded.

Although Brown declined to reveal much about the investigating officer in this specific case, he said that in general, a 15-6 investigating officer is usually a ranked major or higher.

Brown did not know how long the investigation would be open, and would not say exactly how many complaints of "racial Thursdays" had been filed.

The allegations came from within the 2nd Platoon, C Company, 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment , which is part of the 25th Infantry Division's 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team.