Air Force plans public hearings on jet transfers
(AP) — Public meetings will be held next month on the Air Force's plan to transfer a squadron of fighter jets from Fairbanks to Anchorage.
The Air Force filed notice Thursday of the public hearings in Fairbanks and Southcentral Alaska, with a scheduled publication date of the notice Friday in the Federal Register, The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported (http://is.gd/80i3C4).
The Air Force is proposing to move 542 military positions and 18 F-16s from the 18th Aggressor Squadron at Eielson Air Force Base in Fairbanks to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage as a cost-saving measure.
Authorities have said the Air Force could save $227 million over five years with the move of personnel and aircraft, but those in the Fairbanks area opposed to the move have disputed the amount of savings.
In addition to moving personnel, another 81 positions would be eliminated with the move of the squadron. It would also almost cut the Eielson employees by half. Officials said 559 military personnel and 210 civilians would be at the base if the move occurs in fiscal year 2015.
Also part of the proposal is to move three F-16 fighter jets from Eielson to JBER.
The hearings to gather public comment are scheduled Feb. 4-5 in Anchorage and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, and Feb. 6-7 in Fairbanks and North Pole. More specific information about time and locations will be made available at least 15 days before the meetings are held, according to the Air Force notice.