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Begich Sends Petition Opposing Eielson F-16 Move to Air Force More than 1,600 Alaskans tell Air Force to keep squadron where it is

Delivering on his pledge to give Alaskans a chance to weigh in on the Air Force’s proposal to move the F-16 squadron from Eielson Air Force Base to Anchorage, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich today sent a letter to Air Force Brigadier General Mark McLeod with the petition showing more than 1,650 signatures from Alaskans and from across the country.

Gen. McLeod led the effort to conduct the Site Activation Task Force (SATAF) process which resulted in a report about the proposed transfer that was heavily criticized by Sen. Begich and Alaska’s entire congressional delegation.

“As I continue my efforts to show the Air Force that this move is not thoroughly planned out or analyzed for true costs, Alaskans rallied behind that message putting their names on our petitions across the state,” Begich said after sending the letter. “The Air Force needs to know we are united in our belief that the F-16 move is a bad idea and will be devastating to families and the Interior as a whole.”

In April, Sen. Begich launched an on-line petition drive giving Alaskans a chance to be a part of the discussion to move the 18th Aggressor Squadron from Eielson to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. The petition states that those signing believe the Air Force proposal is without merit,  lacks the appropriate analysis, lacks transparency, and circumvents any normal oversight  process.

“When this many people take the time to sign a petition, it’s a good indicator the public cares about the issue,” Begich writes in his letter to Gen. McLeod. “I believe Alaska’s high level of trust and respect for our military has been strained by the Air Force’s actions. Elected officials recognize the weight this kind of petition drive represents, and I hope the Air Force does as well.”

Begich said while he is ending the formal petition drive process, any signatures that come in before the end of the month will be delivered to the Air Force.

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