EDITORIAL: US Air Force wants to hear about Eielson F-16 study

Mark it on your calendar: Air Force officials will be in town Feb. 6 and Feb. 7 to conduct public meetings regarding the proposed transfer of Eielson Air Force Base’s F-16 squadron to Anchorage.

The trip to the Interior will follow meetings Feb. 4 and Feb. 5 in Anchorage and in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough to take public comment about the proposed move of the aircraft and hundreds of personnel to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

The purpose of the meetings is to set the parameters of an environmental impact statement, a study required under the National Environmental Police Act. The meetings are an opportunity for Fairbanks and state leaders to speak directly to Air Force brass about their plan, which has come under withering criticism from U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich, Rep. Don Young and others.

The congressional delegation, along with Fairbanks elected and civic leaders and Gov. Sean Parnell, have questioned the military’s projected cost savings.

Yes, the Air Force does need to reduce its budget. It and the other branches of the military have been ordered to downsize. But state and community leaders here have an obligation to stand up for Fairbanks to make sure we are being treated fairly and that the Air Force isn’t overlooking important information.

Meetings will be held 6 to 8 p.m., but locations have yet to be announced.

Let’s make sure the Air Force hears us.

And, if you’ve still got one, it might be good to wear your “Save Eielson” T-shirt from 2005.

01/30/2013 - 11:47am