04/11/2013: Various footage of Eielson AFB, Alaska.
Credit:354th Fighter Wing:2/1/13
Eielson Air Force Base (AFB) (IATA: EIL, ICAO: PAEI, FAA LID: EIL) is a United States Air Force base located approximately 26 miles (42 km) southeast of Fairbanks, Alaska and just southeast of Moose Creek, Alaska.
The host unit at Eielson is the 354th Fighter Wing (354 FW) assigned to the Pacific Air Forces Eleventh Air Force. The 354 FW primary mission is to support Red Flag – Alaska, a series of Pacific Air Forces commander–directed field training exercises for U.S. Forces, provides joint offensive counter-air, interdiction, close-air support, and large force employment training in a simulated combat environment. Eielson AFB was established in 1943 as Mile 26 Satellite Field. It is named in honor of polar pilot Carl Ben Eielson. The 354 FW is currently commanded by Brigadier General Mark D. Kelly.
At the center of the U.S. contribution to Pacific defense is the ability to provide strategic depth for our allies. Much of this depends on the contribution of Alaska.
As retired Lt. Gen. Charles Heflebower, former 7th Air Force Commander, put it in a recent interview:
The ability to surge in force is crucial. When I was there (in South Korea), I calculated that if we could remain viable through the first 20 days of combat, forces could be surged to the area and turn the tide.In this sense, Alaska is a crucial asset to any American Pacific strategy.