Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | May 18, 2022

Eielson Celebrates F-35 Beddown Completion

By Staff Report 354th Fighter Wing / Public Affairs

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- The 354th Fighter Wing celebrated the arrival of its final F-35A Lightning II aircraft and the subsequent completion of its fleet with a ceremony May 13.

U.S. Air Force Gen. Ken Wilsbach, Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) commander, and Gen. (ret.) Gary North, Lockheed Martin vice president of customer requirements, attended along with several other military and local community leaders to commemorate the occasion. The arrival of the wing’s final jet April 15 marked the end of a two-year beddown process that yielded two operational fighter squadrons comprised of 54 permanently-assigned, combat-coded F-35A aircraft.

The arrival also finalized the wing’s transformation into a formidable fifth-generation fighter wing and cemented Alaska’s status as the most concentrated U.S. state for fifth-generation aircraft, achievements that would not have been possible without the dedication of the Airmen who have been assigned here through the years.

“From our Airmen to our amazing Group leadership to the Wing staff, thank you all for everything you've done to get us to this day,” said Col. David Berkland, 354th Fighter Wing commander. “Thank you to our partners from Lockheed and the amazing teammates they’ve been in getting these aircraft to us and ready to go. We did this 54 F-35 beddown at record speed despite a global pandemic as well as Arctic temperatures in order to bring the 354th Fighter Wing up to a full fifth-generation war-fighting posture, honoring our legacy of Valor in Combat. The Icemen have the iron, and we are ready.”

The arrival of the final jet also makes Alaska’s strategic location more apparent than ever before. Fighter jets departing from Eielson are able to reach anywhere in the northern hemisphere in one sortie. With the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex’s more than 75,000 square miles of airspace, the state also continues to be a premier training location for joint and allied forces.

“The task of standing up two new F-35 squadrons was not small,” said Wilsbach. “You made it look easy, but we know it was not. That’s because of the professionalism of the Airmen who work here at Eielson. The Icemen did a fabulous job of standing up this capability here, and the community around Eielson has also been incredibly supportive not only of our Icemen and our mission but this aircraft as well. We’re grateful in so many ways this mission has been so welcomed here.”

The ceremony was followed by a party co-hosted by the 354th FW and Lockheed Martin, the manufacturer of F-35As, to thank the active duty Airmen, civilian employees, community leaders, and family members who contributed to the success of the beddown process.
CONNECT WITH USINDOPACOM
Facebook

Like Us
Twitter
324,765
Follow Us

ENGAGE & CONNECT MORE WITH PACOM

                                                 

IN THE USINDOPACOM NEWS
U.S. INDOPACOM announces establishment of Joint Task Force Red Hill
220630-N-BD629-1009 CAMP H.M. Smith, Hawaii (June 30, 2022) Commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Adm. John C. Aquilino addresses members of the media during a press conference announcing the establishment of Joint Task Force Red Hill. JTF Red Hill, in close coordination with the State of Hawaii, will oversee the safe and expeditious defueling of the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, demonstrating DoD’s commitment to remove fuel as quickly as possible, in a safe and informed manner, and with full transparency to regulators, intergovernmental partners, and with the people of Hawaii. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Shannon M. Smith/Released)
July 1, 2022 - CAMP H.M. SMITH, Hawaii – Adm. John C. Aquilino, Commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, announced the establishment of Joint Task Force Red Hill (JTF Red Hill) on June 30.The Secretary of Defense directed the standup of JTF...

Rim of the Pacific 2022 Officially Begins
Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2022 participants network at the Southern California opening ceremony. Twenty-six nations, 38 ships, four submarines, more than 170 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 29 to Aug. 4 in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity while fostering and sustaining cooperative relationships among participants critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2022 is the 28th exercise in the series that began in 1971.
June 30, 2022 - U.S. Navy -- Twenty-six nations, 38 surface ships, four submarines, nine national land forces, more than 30 unmanned systems, approximately 170 aircraft and more than 25,000 personnel will train and operate in and around the...

Chief of Naval Operations, Japanese Chief of Staff Meet to Discuss Maritime Security
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday meets with Chief of Staff of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Adm. Ryo Sakai during an office call at the Pentagon, June 28. The two leaders discussed maritime security and ongoing efforts to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific.
June 30, 2022 - WASHINGTON -- Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday hosted the Chief of Staff of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Adm. Ryo Sakai in Washington, D.C., for an office visit, June 28.The two leaders discussed...

Remarks by U.S. Ambassador Peter Haas on Account of U.S. Independence Day 2022
Remarks by U.S. Ambassador Peter Haas on Account of U.S. Independence Day 2022.
June 30, 2022 - U.S. Embassy in Bangladesh -- Good afternoon, everyone! And thank you for joining us for this celebration of the 246th anniversary of U.S. independence. Independence Day in America is a day of red, white, and blue; a day of...

The U.S. Provides Immediate Assistance to Respond to Drought in Kiribati
US $500,000 in humanitarian assistance to respond to the drought across Kiribati
June 30, 2022 - SUVA, U.S. Embassy in Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga, and Tuvalu -- The U.S., through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is providing US$500,000 in humanitarian assistance to respond to the drought across...