F-16s to Stay Put in Alaska
April 14, 2015
Alaska Governor Bill Walker (I) praised the United States Air Force for two announcements: its decision to keep the 18th Aggressor Squadron F-16s at Eielson Air Force Base (AFB) and the commencement of an environmental review process to station two F-35A Lightning squadrons at Eielson.
“This is great news for Alaska, given our strategic location in the world,” Governor Walker said. “Having these F-16 fighter aircraft, at the ready, here in the Interior of Alaska, enhances our nation’s overall readiness.”
“Flying out of Eielson, planes can respond more quickly to hot spots in Asia, the Middle East or Europe,” Governor Walker said. “Alaskans are ready, and excited, to accept the F-35 mission. Both of these announcements are good news for the Interior, where many Air Force families are a vital part of the community.”
“America needs Eielson, and America needs Alaska now more than ever with our westward focus and increased aggression by rogue nations like North Korea, Russia and Iran,” said Senator LisaMurkowski (R-AK). “Though the two squadrons of F-35s headed to Eielson gave the Pentagon a reason to re-evaluate the distribution of their assets, we once again feel vindicated that our state, our welcoming military community, our location, and our natural environmental assets make Alaska second to none.”
"Today’s announcement is great news for Eielson, for Alaska, and for the security of our nation. Given Russia’s recent resurgence and Putin’s aggressive moves into the Arctic, keeping the 18th Aggressors at Eielson is more important than ever,” said U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK). “Many decades ago, General Billy Mitchell noted Alaska’s unique strategic location. I am greatly pleased to see the Air Force heed his advice and go all-in on Alaska. With our training ranges, our location, and our love of those who serve this country, Alaska will continue to be the best – and most strategic – place for our Air Force and our Airmen.”
“Today’s announcement by the Air Force is fantastic news for Fairbanks, North Pole, and the entire nation. This decision reaffirms Alaska’s strategic role in defending our nation as well as the incredible training areas Alaska has to offer our military,” said Congressman Don Young (R-AK). “Combining the F-35 with the F-16 Aggressor Squadron at Eielson is a win-win for everyone involved. This is an example of logic prevailing, which is becoming exceptionally rare in the federal government.”
Today’s news is the result of a strategic basing evaluation of aircraft and manpower balance nationwide by the Air Force, given the global military circumstances and the Pentagon’s priorities – a process in which the delegation strongly vocalized the view of Alaskans that the state’s geographic position and the Department of Defense’s Asia-Pacific focus made the decision simple.
“This is the culmination of years of hard work by federal, state, and local leaders to build strong case for keep the squadron at Eielson Air Force Base,” said JASC Co-Chair John Coghill (R-North Pole). “Representative LeDoux and I, as Co-chairs of JASC, will continue to support the military all around the state.”
Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews
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