Senate Passes Resolution Urging Air Force to Place F-35s at Eielson AFB
F-35s would reaffirm Alaska’s commitment to national security while complementing F-22s at JBER
JUNEAU- Today, the Senate unanimously passed Senate Joint Resolution 14 which urges the United States Air Force to base F-35 aircraft assigned to the Pacific Air Forces at Eielson Air Force Base.
“Supporters of our Air Force, including residents from all around Alaska, can expect aggressive national and international competition in order to entice the F-35s,” said Senate Majority Leader John Coghill, R-Fairbanks/North Pole. “This resolution seeks to honor the historic, strong connection Alaska has with the Air Force, as well as reaffirming Alaska’s commitment to our nation’s security.”
The F-35 basing decision could reverse a wave of reductions started in 2005 which threaten to leave Eielson at the brink of closure. Eielson lost one group of aircraft, its A-10 Warthogs, after it was a candidate for base closure in 2005. In 2011, the Air Force proposed removing the base’s last remaining active-duty planes, a squadron of 21 F-16 Fighting Falcons used for training, because of budget cuts. Congressional action has temporarily delayed the removal of the F-16s.
“I love the sound of thunder in the skies. I’ll take every jet the Air Force will send us,” said Senator Pete Kelly, R-Fairbanks. “I remember when my kids were little. The F-16s were deploying from Wainwright because of runway repairs at Eielson. They were taking off with afterburners booming and they were headed to Iraq. I heard noise from the trampoline every time one took off. I went over to the window and heard my 9-year-old yelling, ‘Go get em boys.’ It’s one of my fondest memories – I hear F-35s make even more noise.”
In August, Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh visited Eielson Air Force Base. After his visit, he spoke publicly about Eielson’s advantage over other bases in the Pacific to host the new generation fighter.
“It seems pretty simple to me – we have the facilities at Eielson, the DoD needs to put the F-35s where they will do the most good,” said Senator Click Bishop, R-Fairbanks. “As Billy Mitchell famously noted, ‘I believe [Alaska] is the most strategic place in the world.’ So, nothing has changed in the last 100 years. That’s why the F-35s belong here."
For more information, please contact Chad Hutchison in Senator Coghill’s office at 907-465-3719.
Posted: February 18, 2014