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News-Miner: Congressional delegation pushes to base F-35 fighters here

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner editorial

With the F-16 squadron at Eielson Air Force Base more secure, attention now turns to the possibility that the military installation a few dozen miles southeast of Fairbanks could host the next-generation fighter jet, the F-35. It’s good to see Alaska’s congressional delegation advocating for that outcome.

The Air Force has said it expects to assign a group of F-35s to the Asia Pacific region. Eielson qualifies through simple geography, but it has advantages when compared to other bases under consideration.

This past summer, Gen. Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle, commander of the Pacific Air Forces, said several bases in the region have some serious limitations. That narrows the serious contenders to four overseas locations and Eielson, he said.

Two of the overseas locations are in South Korea and two are in Japan. Both have limited training space. Eielson, meanwhile, offers a vast and recently expanded territory in which to train.