Aug 9, 2014
First USAF F-35s in Pacific likely headed to Eielson, Alaska
The base was picked based on its location, existing infrastructure and proximity to a training range. Eielson also is home to Pacific Air Force’s premiere training exercise, Red-Flag Alaska, and is easily accessible by training partners from Korea and Japan.
If officially selected, the base will host two F-35 squadrons. They would join an F-16 aggressor squadron and a KC-135 refueling unit already at the base.
The preliminary decision means that the Air Force’s newest fighters, the F-35 and the F-22, would both be in Alaska. F-22s have been based at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson since 2007.The base has been undergoing renovations recently, including improvements at the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex and construction of a new 168-room dormitory.
Air Combat Command’s new F-35 homes have already been announced, with Hill Air Force Base, Utah, set to become the first operational base and Burlington International Airport, Vermont, to be the first Air National Guard base.