April 10, 2015
Recently, the Air Force held three scoping meetings in North Pole, Fairbanks, and Delta Junction, relating to the possible basing of F-35s (stealth fighter jets) at Eielson Air Force Base (EAFB). A draft Environmental Impact Study (EIS) will be completed in the next few months and there will then be a public hearing at which citizens will be able to have their questions answered.
Although the F-35s are a huge opportunity for our community, other military issues are also extremely important. President Putin of Russia is apparently establishing four brigades in the Russian Far East, and Kim Jong-Un of North Korea is extremely volatile and a threat. As we have known for decades, Alaska’s strategic location is of utmost importance to the United States and the western world.
Currently, Eielson Air Force Base is the home of a squadron of F-16 jets, referred to as the Aggressor Squadron. EAFB is one of only two bases in the United States where Aggressor Squadrons are based. The F-16s would complement the mission of the F-35s. Accordingly, it is extremely important that we keep the F-16s at EAFB. It is our understanding that Pacific Air Forces (PACAF), has now sent a recommendation to the Secretary of the Air Force, Deborah Lee James, with respect to the F-16s at EAFB, as well as the Grey Eagle project.
The Grey Eagle project is an unmanned aircraft systems (drones) project of the United States Army. Although this is an Army project, there has been discussion of Grey Eagles being flown out of EAFB.
It is expected that there will be an announcement on F-16s and the Grey Eagle project by mid-April. If the Grey Eagle project were to be based here, it would potentially lead to several hundred personnel coming to our community.
Mayor John Eberhart