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Begich Welcomes Six Additional F-22s to Alaska


New aircraft help state meet its national defense mission, add jobs

Acknowledging the integral national security mission of the Air Force in Alaska, the U.S. Department of the Air Force has decided to station six additional F-22s at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage.

U.S. Sen. Begich received notification of this decision during a conversation this morning with Air Force Vice Chief of Staff, Gen. Carrol "Howie" Chandler. The two also discussed the Wednesday night crash of the Air Force C-17 at Elmendorf.  As a former commander of the Alaskan Command, Gen. Chandler expressed a shared sense of grief after the loss experienced by Alaska's military family.

"Gen. Chandler acknowledged the Pentagon is experiencing the same sense of loss as we are in Alaska. He assured me the situation has his full attention, " Begich said. "We accept the stationing of additional F-22s with an overwhelming sense of purpose and this commitment: Our state will always support our service men and women with the same loyal dedication with which they serve our country."

Today's announcement follows a request made by Begich in a June letter to the Secretary of the Air Force and the Air Force Chief of Staff. In the letter Begich stressed that Total Force Integration and Alaska's military mission make Elmendorf a prime candidate for additional F-22s.

The six additional aircraft will give Alaska's two F-22 squadrons a compliment of 21 F-22s, with an associated increase in personnel.  This increase will improve the base's ability to meet day-to-day requirements of the Air Force mission. The Air Force said the F-22 decision was based on feasibility, timing, cost and planning to accept additional F-22 aircraft as well as site survey results and military judgment factors.

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