Sen. John Coghill Strongly Objects to USAF Transfer of F-16 Wing From Eielson AFB to Anchorage
(Juneau) – Following the announcement today from the Department of Defense that it would be moving its remaining F-16 fighter jets from Eielson AFB near North Pole to Joint Base Elemendorf-Richardson at Anchorage, Sen. John Coghill released the following statement:
“I just learned of the announcement about the Air Force moving the F-16 Aggressor Squadron from Eielson to Elmendorf this morning. I am still trying to understand the reason for this move. It looks to me like a realignment is taking place, without the public input required under the Base Realignment and Closing process.
“As I understand the issue, the support services, from airframe maintenance to medical, will go with the fighters. This could leave the base as a ghost town in many ways, making it nearly impossible to defend Eielson during the open BRAC process.
“In addition to all the many attributes that Eielson provides for the defense of our nation, there are three aspects of this move that are particularly troubling to me. One, Alaska’s strategic location relative to the Pacific Rim has not changed, but the dangers lurking there have only grown larger. Two, if the F-16s are moved to Elmendorf, they will be operating in more congested air space, with world class winds, making the approach into their base much more difficult. And three, this decision was not made in an open process, which will leave Eielson totally defenseless in the upcoming BRAC round that the secretary of defense has called for.
“I will write to the DoD to express, in the strongest way I can, my concern over this move, and ask that it be reconsidered.”