Skip to comments.Congressional delegation speaks out against F-16 move
Posted on 02/05/2012 5:30:44 PM PST by Jet Jaguar
Alaskas Congressional delegation has released their statements over a proposed plan to move a F-16 Aggressor squadron from Eielson Air Force Base to Elmendorf Air Force Base and retire four C-130 transport aircraft at Elmendorf. The move is part of a nationwide defense budget reduction and has left the delegation unhappy.
Eielson Air Force Base survived closure in 2005 during a round Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC) review. According to the Fairbanks North Star Boroughs most recent Community Research Quarterly, the base employs 1,803 military active duty personnel and 2,871 family members.
Heres the delegations full responses.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski:
While I am gratified the Air Force plans to keep the F-16 aggressor squadron in Alaska, I believe its rightful home is Eielson Air Force Base at the gateway to the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex (JPARC). Todays announcement is identical to the BRAC proposal the Air Force advanced in 2005, when the Fairbanks community conclusively proved to the independent Base Realignment and Closure Commission that the Air Force would not achieve any savings by attempting to maintain a warm base in a cold place.
Yet the Air Force suggests that todays action will result in a cost savings in Fiscal Year 2015. I no more believe that they will be able to achieve that cost savings in 2015 than they could in 2005. Im going to do everything in my power to change the Air Forces plan.
I am also concerned about the Air Forces plan to retire four C-130 transports at Elmendorf, with an anticipated loss of 120 active duty positions. The C-130 plays a crucial role in disaster relief missions. Coming on the heels of an earlier announcement that the Army National Guard will retire the remaining C-23 Sherpa, I need to be convinced that this action leaves the Air Force and Guard with sufficient assets to respond to a catastrophic earthquake or other natural disaster requiring immediately available airlift capacity.
Sen. Mark Begich:
Relocating the 18th Aggressor Squadron from Eielson to JBER is an unacceptable proposal. I will not support the Air Forces attempt to circumvent the law and the formal BRAC process by trying to piecemeal one of the most strategic installations in the country. As Alaskas only member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I will fight this action every step of the way. A decision to relocate the F-16s from Eielson was already rejected in 2005, when the independent BRAC Commission overturned the Air Forces recommendation, recognizing Eielson has the best airspace and range complexes and the estimated costs savings were inaccurate. Nothing has changed since 2005. Eielson Air Force Base is critical to the defense of the United States.
The Air Force also plans to retire 4 C-130Hs stationed at JBER. It is unfortunate this will result in the loss of the active duty personnel in the integrated unit that fly these planes. However, I am pleased Air Guardsmen of the 144th Airlift Squadron will retain eight C-130s and the manpower to continue to provide important lift capability in defense of our nation and in support of our state. As members of our community, these Guardsmen will continue to make us proud in Alaska.
Rep. Don Young:
Todays announcement by the Air Force concerns me greatly. We should not be moving personnel and equipment - especially C-130s that are crucial to search and rescue missions throughout Alaska - farther from the Arctic when were on the verge of finally realizing the potential of what the Arctic has to offer. I believe Fairbanks has a vital role in Americas military future and quite frankly serves as the northern anchor of the Pacific Rim and this countrys gateway to the Arctic.
"That is why I have made a request that the Air Force come in and brief me on how they plan to meet the Presidents new strategic objectives in the Pacific. I want to know why this decision has been made especially after Fairbanks fought and won this relocation battle in 2005. I look forward to hearing what they say as well as working with the Governor and the rest of the Alaska delegation to resolve this.
It’s a wonder that we are able to defend ourselves at all when the politicians decide how best to deploy our military assets.
I think the red states are going to take some pretty heavy hits from Leon’s Pentagon.
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I believe we fell under the 11th AF under PACAF when I was there.
Still the sexiest jet fighter EVER.
Really tired of all of the politics that is being played by politicians...okay, geez, what is new? Still a shame though.
The 18th is part of the 354 Fighter Wing and the 11th Air Force.
In theory, the cuts in the military are going to require another BRAC. Those that survived barely last time, will probably end up on top of the list for another look this time.
I know nothing about AF in Alaska.
I spent 5 months deployed in AK, to an Army camp for a JTF mission on a Native American Reservation. Really bad place for a zoomie to be. Trust me. Coffee mugs and office chairs were in short supply.
I don’t know anything about the AF in Alaska either! I just checked it out for you. I was stationed on the other side of the country and then out in the Atlantic.
Proud to have served under President Reagan, a real Commander in Chief.
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