U.S. Air Force photo / Master Sgt. Karen J. Tomasik/Released

Eielson selected to receive operational F-35A aircraft

Master Sgt. Karen J. Tomasik, 354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs, Eielson AFB

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE – Col. Michael P. Winkler, the 354th Fighter Wing commander, announced the Secretary of the Air Force’s signed decision to select Eielson Air Force Base as the new home for the service’s first operational overseas F-35A Lightning II fifth-generation fighter aircraft base during an April 4, 2016, ceremony at Eielson.

Air Force officials chose Eielson after a lengthy analysis of the location’s operational considerations, installation attributes, environmental factors and cost, which makes it the first F-35A operational base in the Pacific Air Forces’ Area of Responsibility.

“Alaska combines a strategically important location with a world-class training environment. Basing the F-35s at Eielson AFB will allow the Air Force the capability of using the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex (JPARC) for large force exercises using a multitude of ranges and maneuver areas in Alaska. This, combined with the largest airspace in the Air Force, ensures realistic combat training for the (Defense Department).” – Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James

Proximity to the JPARC will enable the Air Force to take advantage of approximately 65,000 square miles of available airspace for realistic, world-class training for the Air Force’s most advanced fifth-generation fighter. Continue at