Eielson Air Force Base is located in Fairbanks North Star Borough, Alaska. It is part of the "Fairbanks, Alaska Metropolitan Statistical Area". As of the 2000 census, the population of the base is 5,400. The base is named for polar pilot Carl Ben Eielson.
The base's longest runway is more than long.
The 354th Fighter Wing mission is "To train, deliver, maintain and support combat power across the globe while taking care of our people, their families and our infrastructure." To accomplish that mission, the wing implements flying operations, mission support, maintenance and medical care functions and is host to 10 tenant units.
There are 1,448 households out of which 77.8% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 92.4% are married couples living together, 2.7% have a female householder with no husband present, and 2.3% are non-families. 2.1% of all households are made up of individuals and 0.0% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 3.52 and the average family size is 3.55.
In the base the population is spread out with 40.8% under the age of 18, 16.6% from 18 to 24, 41.2% from 25 to 44, 1.2% from 45 to 64, and 0.2% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 22 years. For every 100 females there are 110.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 114.7 males.
The median income for a household in the base is $35,938, and the median income for a family is $35,688. Males have a median income of $24,961 versus $21,432 for females. The per capita income for the base is $11,512. 6.0% of the population and 5.1% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 7.5% of those under the age of 18 and 0.0% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
The 18th Aggressor Squadron opened on 24 August 2007.
A month later, contractors and civilian crews from Ladd Field started laying out the new airfield. Actual construction began on August 25, 1943. Crews built two parallel runways, across and long. Other facilities included an operations building, housing for 108 officer and 330 enlisted personnel, and a ten-bed dispensary. The garrison and airfield totaled about . Completed on October 17, 1944, the 14-month project cost about eight million dollars.
Operational uses of Mile 26 were few. Ladd Field served as the debarkation point for the Alaska-Siberia Ferry Route of the lend-lease program and was the hub of activity. Lend-lease aircraft would occasionally land at Mile 26, but there are no records to indicate any lend-lease aircraft ever used the airfield to take off for Russia. Mile 26 closed when the war ended.
On 1 December 1947 Strategic Air Command B-29 Superfortress bombers arrived at 26-Mile Airfield with the deployment of the 97th Bombardment Wing, Very Heavy, from Smoky Hill AFB, Kansas. The wing reported to Fifteenth Air Force, Strategic Air Command (SAC), although the Yukon Sector of the Alaskan Air Command controlled its operations. At the end of the Alaskan deployment the wing returned to Kansas on 12 March 1948.
A year later, however, Eielson moved from under the shadow of Ladd Field when the Alaskan Air Command assumed organizational control. Also in the fall of 1947, Colonel Jerome B. McCauley assumed duties as commander. The primary missions of Mile 26 were to support Arctic training for USAF tactical and strategic units, as well as defend the base itself.
Headquarters USAF General Order 2, dated January 13, 1948, redesignated Mile 26 as Eielson AFB. It was named for Carl Ben Eielson, an Alaska aviation pioneer who was killed, along with his mechanic Earl Borland, in the crash of their Hamilton aircraft in 1929. Eielson and Borland were attempting a rescue flight to an icebound ship in the Bering Sea when they were killed. On April 1, 1948, the Eielson AFB Wing (Base Complement) was formed. The host-unit subsequently would be dubbed the Eielson AFB Bomb Wing, and finally, in January 1949, the 5010th Wing. Colonel John L. Nedwed, the third commander of the base since it fell under Alaskan Air Command fifteen months before, became the first to head the 5010th.
For the next 34 years, the 5010th (alternately known as the Wing, Composite Wing, Air Base Wing, and lastly, Combat Support Group) served as host-unit at Eielson. Construction boomed at Eielson AFB during the 1950s. Many of the facilities still in use today were built at that time, including Amber Hall, the Thunderdome, Base Exchange, Gymnasium, Theater, some of the schools, and many of the dormitories.
The 720th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, equipped with F-86 Sabres, was deployed to Eielson during 1954-55. The 720th was a part of the 450th Fighter-Bomber Wing stationed at Foster AFB, Texas. The 720th was replaced by the 455th Fighter-Bomber Squadron (323d FBW), stationed at Bunker Hill AFB, Indiana.
The Air Defense Command deployed interceptors to Eielson during the 1960s. Det. 3, 317th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron from Elmendorf AFB Alaska deployed F-102 Delta Daggers and F-106 Delta Darts to the base between 1960-69.
The 58th Weather Squadron remained at Eielson until 8 August 1958.
The 6th SW flew RC–135 strategic reconnaissance missions with an assigned squadron, and, with KC–135s deployed to Eielson from SAC, AFRES, and the ANG, conducted Alaska Tanker Task Force (ATTF) missions to support reconnaissance and numerous exercises for the Air Force and Navy.
The 6th SW remained at Eielson AFB until 1992.
In 1984, the 343d Composite Wing was redesignated a Tactical Fighter Wing. Seven years later, in 1991, it was redesignated as the 343d Wing. Also that year, the 343d gained a second flying unit, the 11th Tactical Air Support Squadron (11 TASS), which flew OA-10s.
Another change involved the 3rd Fighter Training Squadron, which was replaced by the 353rd Fighter Squadron (later redesignated as a Combat Training Squadron).
Within the first year of its arrival the 354 FW hosted an Arctic combat search and rescue exercise between the United States, Canada, and Russia. Ironically, these were the same countries that took part in the search and recovery efforts that followed the fatal crash of Carl Ben Eielson and his mechanic, Earl Borland, in 1930 as they were attempting to fly relief supplies to the Nanuk.
Note: The 343d FW 3d Fighter Training Squadron was replaced by the 353d Fighter Training Squadron from the 354th FW. The 3d Fighter Training Squadron had its origins with the 3d Tactical Fighter Squadron at Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, being formed in March 1973. The 3d TFS received its A-7D aircraft from the then deployed 353d Tactical Fighter Squadron of the 354th Tactical Fighter Wing, deployed to Korat from Myrtle Beach AFB, South Carolina.
Eielson Air Force Base was proposed to be a Superfund designated site on July 14, 1989, and was officially designated as a Superfund site on November 21, 1989.
The groundwater contains lead and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like benzene, xylene, and toluene. Several areas of subsurface petroleum-contaminated soil and floating petroleum product are the sources of continuing groundwater contamination. Ingesting or coming into direct contact with contaminated groundwater or soil may pose a potential health threat. Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB)-contaminated fish were also found in the area.
Much of the text in an early version of this article was taken from pages on the Eielson Air Force Base website, which as a work of the U.S. Government is presumed to be a public domain resource. That information was supplemented by: