Elmendorf Air Force Base
Overview
 
Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson is a United States military facility adjacent to Anchorage
Anchorage, Alaska
Anchorage is a unified home rule municipality in the southcentral part of the U.S. state of Alaska. It is the northernmost major city in the United States...

, the largest city in Alaska
Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

. It is an amalgamation of the former United States Air Force Elmendorf Air Force Base
Elmendorf Air Force Base
Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson is a United States military facility adjacent to Anchorage, the largest city in Alaska. It is an amalgamation of the former United States Air Force Elmendorf Air Force Base and the United States Army Fort Richardson, which were merged in 2010.-Overview:The...

 and the United States Army Fort Richardson, which were merged in 2010.
The facilities, which have always shared the same relative geographic position, were officially combined by the 2005 Base Closure and Realignment Commission.
Encyclopedia
Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson is a United States military facility adjacent to Anchorage
Anchorage, Alaska
Anchorage is a unified home rule municipality in the southcentral part of the U.S. state of Alaska. It is the northernmost major city in the United States...

, the largest city in Alaska
Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

. It is an amalgamation of the former United States Air Force Elmendorf Air Force Base
Elmendorf Air Force Base
Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson is a United States military facility adjacent to Anchorage, the largest city in Alaska. It is an amalgamation of the former United States Air Force Elmendorf Air Force Base and the United States Army Fort Richardson, which were merged in 2010.-Overview:The...

 and the United States Army Fort Richardson, which were merged in 2010.

Overview

The facilities, which have always shared the same relative geographic position, were officially combined by the 2005 Base Closure and Realignment Commission. Its mission is to support and defend U.S. interests in the Asia Pacific region and around the world by providing units who are ready for worldwide air power projection and a base that is capable of meeting PACOM
PACOM
PACOM may refer to:* Pan-African Congress of Mathematicians* United States Pacific Command...

's theater staging and throughput requirements.

It is the home of the Headquarters, Alaskan Command
Alaskan Command
The Alaskan Command is a regional military command of the United States Armed Forces focusing on the state of Alaska. A sub-unified command of the United States Pacific Command, Alaskan Command is charged with maintaining air sovereignty, deploying forces for worldwide contingencies as directed by...

 (ALCOM), Alaskan NORAD Region (ANR), Joint Task Force-Alaska
Joint Task Force-Alaska
Joint Task Force Alaska , headquartered at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, is a multi-service command composed of approximately 80 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Coast Guardsmen and Department of Defense civilian specialists. The task force is a homeland defense component of U.S...

 (JTF-AK), Eleventh Air Force
Eleventh Air Force
The Eleventh Air Force is a numbered air force of the United States Air Force Pacific Air Forces . It is headquartered at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska....

 (11 AF), the 673d Air Base Wing
673d Air Base Wing
The 673d Air Base Wing is the designation for the support unit for Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, a combination of the United States Air Force's Elmendorf AFB and the United States Army's Fort Richardson....

, the 3rd Wing, the 176th Wing
176th Wing
The 176th Wing is the largest unit of the Alaska Air National Guard. It is a composite wing — meaning a wing which operates more than one type of aircraft — operating out of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska...

 and other Tenant Units.

Units

Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER), holds the distinction of being one of twelve joint bases that were created in BRAC 2005. The 673d ABW consists of four groups that operate and maintain the joint base for air sovereignty, combat training, force staging and throughput operations in support of worldwide contingencies.

The installation hosts the headquarters for the United States Alaskan Command, 11th Air Force, U.S. Army Alaska, and the Alaskan North American Aerospace Defense Command Region.

Major units assigned are:
  • 673d Air Base Wing
    673d Air Base Wing
    The 673d Air Base Wing is the designation for the support unit for Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, a combination of the United States Air Force's Elmendorf AFB and the United States Army's Fort Richardson....

Activated on 30 July 2010 as the host wing combining installation management functions of Elmendorf AFB's 3rd Wing and U.S. Army Garrison Fort Richardson. The 673d ABW comprises over 5,500 joint military and civilian personnel, supporting America's Arctic Warriors and their families. The wing supports and enables three AF total-force wings, two Army Brigades and 55 other tenant units. In addition, the wing provides medical care to over 35,000 joint service members, dependents, VA patients and retirees throughout Alaska. The 673d ABW maintains an $11.4B infrastructure encompassing 84,000 acres, ensuring Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson remains America's premier strategic power projection platform.
  • Alaskan Command
    Alaskan Command
    The Alaskan Command is a regional military command of the United States Armed Forces focusing on the state of Alaska. A sub-unified command of the United States Pacific Command, Alaskan Command is charged with maintaining air sovereignty, deploying forces for worldwide contingencies as directed by...

Responsible for maximizing theater force readiness for 21,000 Alaskan servicemembers and expediting worldwide contingency force deployments from and through Alaska as directed by the Commander, USPACOM
  • United States Army Alaska
    United States Army Alaska
    United States Army Alaska is a military command of the United States Army located in the state of Alaska, USA. A subordinate command of the United States Army Pacific, USARAK is the ground element of the Alaskan Command. USARAK is headquartered at Fort Richardson and commanded by a major general...

     (US)
U.S. Army Alaska executes continuous training and readiness oversight responsibilities for Army Force Generation in Alaska. Supports U.S. Pacific Command Theater Security Cooperation Program. On order, executes Joint Force Land Component Command functions in support of Homeland Defense and Security in Alaska.
  • 3d Wing
    3d Wing
    The 3d Wing is a unit of the United States Air Force, assigned to the Pacific Air Forces Eleventh Air Force. It is stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska....

     (USAF)
To support and defend US interests in the Asia Pacific region and around the world by providing units who are ready for worldwide air power projection and a base that is capable of meeting PACOM's theater staging and throughput requirements.
  • Alaskan Norad Region
The Alaskan NORAD Region (ANR) conducts aerospace control within its area of operations and contributes to NORAD's aerospace warning mission.
  • Eleventh Air Force
    Eleventh Air Force
    The Eleventh Air Force is a numbered air force of the United States Air Force Pacific Air Forces . It is headquartered at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska....

Provide ready warriors and infrastructure for homeland defense, decisive force projection, and aerospace command and control

Elmendorf Air Force Base

World War II

Construction on Elmendorf Field began on 8 June 1940, as a major and permanent military airfield near Anchorage. The first Air Corps personnel arrived on 12 August 1940.

On 12 November 1940, the War Department formally designated what had been popularly referred to as Elmendorf Field as Fort Richardson. The air facilities on the post were named Elmendorf Field in honor of Captain Hugh M. Elmendorf, killed on 13 January 1933, while flight testing the experimental Consolidated Y1P-25
Consolidated P-30
|-See also:-References:NotesBibliography* Angelucci, Enzo. and Peter M. Bowers, The American Fighter. New York: Orion Books, 1987. ISBN 0-517-56588-9....

, fighter, 32-321, near Wright Field
Wright Field
Wright Field was an airfield of the United States Army Air Corps and Air Forces near Riverside, Ohio. From 1927 to 1947 it was the research and development center for the Air Corps, and during World War II a flight test center....

, Ohio. After World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, the Army moved its operations to the new Fort Richardson and the Air Force assumed control of the original Fort Richardson and renamed it Elmendorf Air Force Base.

The first Air Force unit to be assigned to Alaska, the 18th Pursuit Squadron, arrived in February 1941. The 23d Air Base Group was assigned shortly afterward to provide base support. Other Air Force units poured into Alaska as the Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

ese threat developed into World War II. The Eleventh Air Force
Eleventh Air Force
The Eleventh Air Force is a numbered air force of the United States Air Force Pacific Air Forces . It is headquartered at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska....

 was formed at Elmendorf AFB in early 1942. The field played a vital role as the main air logistics center and staging area during the Aleutian Campaign and later air operations against the Kurile Islands.

Cold War

Following World War II, Elmendorf assumed an increasing role in the defense of North America as the uncertain wartime relations between the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 deteriorated into the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

. The Eleventh Air Force was redesignated as the Alaskan Air Command
Alaskan Air Command
Alaskan Air Command is an inactive United States Air Force Major Command. Established in 1945 under the United States Army Air Forces, its mission was to organize and administer the air defense system of Alaska, exercise direct control of all active measures, and coordinate all passive means of...

 (AAC) on 18 December 1945. The Alaskan Command, established 1 January 1947, also headquartered at Elmendorf, was a unified command under the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Joint Chiefs of Staff
The Joint Chiefs of Staff is a body of senior uniformed leaders in the United States Department of Defense who advise the Secretary of Defense, the Homeland Security Council, the National Security Council and the President on military matters...

 based on lessons learned during World War II when a lack of unity of command hampered operations to drive the Japanese from the western Aleutian Islands of Attu and Kiska.

The uncertain world situation in late 1940s and early 1950s caused a major buildup of air defense forces in Alaska. The propeller-driven F-51s were replaced with F-80
P-80 Shooting Star
The Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star was the first jet fighter used operationally by the United States Army Air Forces. Designed in 1943 as a response to the German Messerschmitt Me-262 jet fighter, and delivered in just 143 days from the start of the design process, production models were flying but...

 jets, which in turn were replaced in succession by F-94s
F-94 Starfire
The Lockheed F-94 Starfire was the United States Air Force's first operational jet-powered all-weather interceptor aircraft. It was a development by Lockheed of the twin-seat T-33 Shooting Star trainer aircraft.-Design and development:...

, F-89
F-89 Scorpion
The Northrop F-89 Scorpion was an early American jet-powered fighter designed from the outset as an all-weather interceptor. Though its straight wings limited its performance, it was among the first USAF jet fighters with guided missiles, and notably the first combat aircraft armed with air-to-air...

s, and F-102s interceptor aircraft for defense of North America. The Air Force built an extensive aircraft control and warning radar system with sites located throughout Alaska's interior and coastal regions. Additionally, the Air Force of necessity built the White Alice Communications System
White Alice Communications System
The White Alice Communications System was a United States Air Force telecommunication link system constructed in Alaska during the cold war. It featured tropospheric scatter links and line-of-sight microwave radio links...

 (with numerous support facilities around the state) to provide reliable communications to these far-flung, isolated, and often rugged locales. The Alaskan NORAD Regional Operations Control Center (ROCC) at Elmendorf served as the nerve center for all air defense operations in Alaska.

The U.S. Air Force Security Service
U.S. Air Force Security Service
The United States Air Force Security Service was essentially the United States Air Force's cryptographic intelligence branch; its motto was Freedom through Vigilance. It was created in October 1948 and operated until 1979, when the branch was re-designated the Electronic Security Command...

 (USAFSS) activated the 6981st Security Group
381st Intelligence Squadron
The United States Air Force's 381st Intelligence Squadron is an intelligence unit located at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. The unit operates an AN/FLR-9 Circularly Disposed Antenna Array , also known as an "Elephant Cage".-Logo Significance:...

 tasked with monitoring, collecting and interpreting signals intelligence of concern to the region, including installation of an AN/FLR-9
AN/FLR-9
The AN/FLR-9 is a type of very large circular "Wullenweber" antenna array, built at many locations during the cold war for HF/DF direction finding of high priority targets. The worldwide network, known collectively as "Iron Horse", could locate HF communications almost anywhere on the planet...

 antenna array as part of a worldwide network known collectively as "Iron Horse."

Air defense forces reached their zenith in 1957 with almost 200 fighter aircraft assigned to six fighter interceptor squadrons located at Elmendorf AFB and Ladd AFB. Eighteen aircraft control and warning radar sites controlled their operations. Elmendorf earned the motto "Top Cover for North America." AAC adopted the motto as its own in 1969.

The late 1950s, 1960s, and early 1970s brought about a gradual, but significant decline in air defense forces in Alaska due to mission changes and the demands of the Vietnam War. The Air Force inactivated five fighter squadrons and closed five radar sites. In 1961, the Department of Defense consigned Ladd AFB to the Army which renamed it Fort Wainwright
Fort Wainwright
Fort Wainwright is a United States Army post adjacent to Fairbanks in the U.S. state of Alaska. It is part of the Fairbanks, Alaska Metropolitan Statistical Area.-History:...

. The Alaskan Command was disestablished in 1975. Elmendorf began providing more support to other Air Force commands, particularly Military Airlift Command C-5
C-5 Galaxy
The Lockheed C-5 Galaxy is a large military transport aircraft built by Lockheed. It provides the United States Air Force with a heavy intercontinental-range strategic airlift capability, one that can carry outsize and oversize cargos, including all air-certifiable cargo. The Galaxy has many...

 and C-141 flights to and from the Far East.

Despite a diminished number of personnel and aircraft, a turning point in Elmendorf's history occurred in 1970 with the arrival of the 43d Tactical Fighter Squadron
43d Fighter Squadron
The 43d Fighter Squadron is part of the 325th Fighter Wing at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. It conducts advanced fighter training for F-22 Raptor pilots.-Mission:...

 in June 1970 from MacDill AFB, Florida. The squadron gave AAC an air-to-ground capability which was further enhanced with the activation of the 18th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Elmendorf (also with F-4Es) on 1 October 1977.

The strategic importance of Elmendorf AFB was graphically realized during the spring of 1980 when the 18th Tactical Fighter Squadron deployed eight of its F-4Es to Korea to participate in exercise Team Spirit. It was a historical first and underlined an increasing emphasis AAC placed on its tactical role. The strategic location of Elmendorf AFB and Alaska made it an excellent deployment center, a fact that validated the contention of Billy Mitchell who, in 1935, stated that "Alaska is the most strategic place in the world." Deployments from Elmendorf AFB and Eielson AFB to the Far East are now conducted on a routine basis.

The 1980s witnessed a period of growth and modernization of Elmendorf AFB. During 1982, the 21st Tactical Fighter Wing
21st Space Wing
The 21st Space Wing is a unit of the Air Force Space Command based at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. The unit is tasked with the operation of early missile warning and space object detection equipment around the world in support of NORAD and USSTRATCOM through a network of command and control...

 converted from F-4Es to F-15A/B
F-15 Eagle
The McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle is a twin-engine, all-weather tactical fighter designed by McDonnell Douglas to gain and maintain air superiority in aerial combat. It is considered among the most successful modern fighters with over 100 aerial combat victories with no losses in dogfights...

s. The 18th Tactical Fighter Squadron was assigned to Eielson AFB where it was equipped with A-10s. The 54th Tactical Fighter Squadron
54th Fighter Squadron
The 54th Fighter Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was to the 3d Operations Group, being stationed at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska...

, of Aleutian Campaign fame, activated once again in 1987. Operating two F-15 Squadrons (43rd and 54th TFS), the F-15s were housed next to the 5021st Tactical Operations Squadron's T-33 Shooting Stars. Rounding out the modernization program was the construction of an enhanced Regional Operations Control Center (completed in 1983), and the replacement of the 1950s generation aircraft control and warning radars with the state of the art AN/FPS-117 Minimally Attended Radars. The integrated air warning and defense system became fully operational in mid 1985. Alaska's air defense force was further enhanced with the assignment of two E-3As
E-3 Sentry
The Boeing E-3 Sentry is an airborne warning and control system developed by Boeing as the prime contractor. Derived from the Boeing 707, it provides all-weather surveillance, command, control and communications, and is used by the United States Air Force , NATO, Royal Air Force , French Air Force...

 to Elmendorf AFB in 1986. The Alaskan Command was reestablished at Elmendorf in 1989 as subunified joint service command under the Pacific Command in recognition of Alaska's military importance in the Pacific region.

The Elmendorf AFB is a site of one of the now decommissioned FLR-9 Wullenweber
Wullenweber
The Wullenweber is a type of Circularly Disposed Antenna Array sometimes referred to as a Circularly Disposed Dipole Array . It is a large circular antenna array used for radio direction finding...

-class antennas, a node of the now obsolete High Frequency SIGINT direction finding
Direction finding
Direction finding refers to the establishment of the direction from which a received signal was transmitted. This can refer to radio or other forms of wireless communication...

 system.

Modern era

That importance was further recognized when the F-15E Strike Eagle
F-15E Strike Eagle
The McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle is an all-weather multirole fighter, derived from the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle. The F-15E was designed in the 1980s for long-range, high speed interdiction without relying on escort or electronic warfare aircraft. United States Air Force F-15E Strike...

 equipped 90th Tactical Fighter Squadron
90th Fighter Squadron
The 90th Fighter Squadron is part of the 3d Wing at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska. It operates the F-22 Raptor aircraft conducting air superiority missions.-Mission:...

 was reassigned to Elmendorf Air Force Base from Clark Air Base
Clark Air Base
Clark Air Base is a former United States Air Force base on Luzon Island in the Philippines, located 3 miles west of Angeles City, about 40 miles northwest of Metro Manila. Clark Air Base was an American military facility from 1903 to 1991...

 in the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 in May 1991. The Pacific Regional Medical Center moved from Clark to Elmendorf and construction of a new, greatly expanded hospital began in 1993. The early 1990s also saw major organizational changes and an expansion of Elmendorf's importance. In 1991, the 21st Tactical Fighter Wing was reorganized as an objective wing and all the major tenant units on Elmendorf were placed under it. The 21st Wing was de-activated and the 3d Wing
3d Wing
The 3d Wing is a unit of the United States Air Force, assigned to the Pacific Air Forces Eleventh Air Force. It is stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska....

 was reassigned from Clark Air Base to Elmendorf Air Force Base on 19 December 1991. This was in keeping with the Air Force's polices of retaining the oldest and most illustrious units during a period of major force reductions. It was also an alternative landing site for the Space Shuttle
Space Shuttle
The Space Shuttle was a manned orbital rocket and spacecraft system operated by NASA on 135 missions from 1981 to 2011. The system combined rocket launch, orbital spacecraft, and re-entry spaceplane with modular add-ons...

.

Major Commands to which assigned

  • Alaskan Defense Force, (June 1940 – February 1941)
  • Alaskan Defense Command, (February – May 1941)
  • Air Field Forces, Alaskan Defense Command, (May – December 1941)
  • Alaskan Air Force, (December 1941 – February 1942)
  • Eleventh Air Force
    Eleventh Air Force
    The Eleventh Air Force is a numbered air force of the United States Air Force Pacific Air Forces . It is headquartered at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska....

    , (February – September 1942)
  • Alaskan Air Command
    Alaskan Air Command
    Alaskan Air Command is an inactive United States Air Force Major Command. Established in 1945 under the United States Army Air Forces, its mission was to organize and administer the air defense system of Alaska, exercise direct control of all active measures, and coordinate all passive means of...

    , (December 1945 – August 1990)
  • Pacific Air Forces, (August 1990 – present)

Base operating units

  • 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, US (June 1940 – February 1941)
    (initial base complement)
  • 23d Air Base Group, (February 1941 – July 1942)
  • 23d Service Group, (July 1942 – January 1948)
  • 23d Air Service Group, (January – April 1948)
  • 57th Airdrome Group, (April - September 1948)
  • 57th Air Base Group, (September 1948 – January 1951)
  • 39th Air Depot Wing, (January 1951 – April 1953)

  • 5039th Air Base Wing, (April 1953 – October 1957)
  • 5040th Air Base Wing, (October 1957 – February 1959)
  • 5040th Air Base Wing, (August 1960 – July 1966)
  • 21st Air Base Group, (July 1966 – January 1980)
  • 21st Combat Support Group, (January 1980 – December 1991)
  • 3d Wing, (December 1991 – present)


Major units assigned

  • 28th Bombardment Group (Composite) (February 1941 – March 1943)
  • 343d Fighter Group (September 1942 – March 1943)
  • 93d Air Depot Group (May 1944 – September 1946)
  • 28th Bombardment Group (June 1946 – June 1948)
  • 57th Fighter Group (March 1947 – April 1953)
  • 64th
    64th Aggressor Squadron
    The 64th Aggressor Squadron ' is a United States Air Force unit. It is assigned to the 57th Adversary Tactics Group and stationed at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.-Overview:...

    , 65th
    65th Aggressor Squadron
    The 65th Aggressor Squadron ' is a United States Air Force unit. It is assigned to the 57th Adversary Tactics Group and stationed at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.-Overview:...

    , 66th Fighter-Interceptor Squadrons (June 1947 – November 1957)
  • 5039th Air Depot Wing (September 1948 – January 1951)
  • 39th Air Depot Wing (January 1951 – April 1953)
  • 5039th Air Base Wing (April 1953 – June 1957)

  • 5040th Air Base Wing (June 1957 – July 1966)
    (Under 10th Air Division until August 1960)
  • 5070th Air Defense Wing
    5070th Air Defense Wing
    The 5070th Air Defense Wing is an inactive United States Air Force organization. Its last assignment was with the Alaskan Air Command, being stationed at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska. It was inactivated on 1 October 1961-Lineage:...

     AAC (1 August 1960 – 1 October 1961) with
    317th Fighter Interceptor Squadron
    317th Fighter Interceptor Squadron
    The 317th Fighter Interceptor Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit, last assigned to Aerospace Defense Command, being stationed at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska. The squadron was inactivated on December 31, 1969.-World War II:...

     25 August 1960 – 1 October 1961)
  • 21st Tactical Fighter Wing
    21st Space Wing
    The 21st Space Wing is a unit of the Air Force Space Command based at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. The unit is tasked with the operation of early missile warning and space object detection equipment around the world in support of NORAD and USSTRATCOM through a network of command and control...

     (May 1966 – December 1991)
  • 343d Tactical Fighter Wing
    343d Composite Wing
    The 343d Wing is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with the Alaskan Air Command, stationed at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. It was inactivated on 20 August 1993-History:...

     (November 1977 – January 1980)
  • 381st Intelligence Squadron
    381st Intelligence Squadron
    The United States Air Force's 381st Intelligence Squadron is an intelligence unit located at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. The unit operates an AN/FLR-9 Circularly Disposed Antenna Array , also known as an "Elephant Cage".-Logo Significance:...

      (1955–present)
    (6981st with various unit designations under USAFSS)
  • 3d Wing
    3d Wing
    The 3d Wing is a unit of the United States Air Force, assigned to the Pacific Air Forces Eleventh Air Force. It is stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska....

     (December 1991 – present)


Fort Richardson

Fort Richardson was named for the military pioneer explorer, Brig. Gen. Wilds P. Richardson
Wilds P. Richardson
Wilds Preston Richardson was an officer of the United States Army notable for being an explorer and geographer of Alaska in the early decades of the 20th century...

, who served three tours of duty in the rugged Alaska territory between 1897 and 1917. Richardson, a native Texan and an 1884 West Point graduate, commanded troops along the Yukon River
Yukon River
The Yukon River is a major watercourse of northwestern North America. The source of the river is located in British Columbia, Canada. The next portion lies in, and gives its name to Yukon Territory. The lower half of the river lies in the U.S. state of Alaska. The river is long and empties into...

 and supervised construction of Fort Egbert
Fort Egbert
-History:Fort Egbert was established in 1899, during the Klondike Gold Rush, as U.S. Army headquarters in the District of Alaska. It was named by U.S. President William McKinley in honor of Colonel Harry C...

 near Eagle
Eagle, Alaska
Eagle is a city located along the United States-Canada border in the Southeast Fairbanks Census Area, Alaska, United States. It includes Eagle Historic District, a U.S. National Historic Landmark. The population was 129 at the 2000 census...

, and Fort William H. Seward (Chilkoot Barracks) near Haines
Haines, Alaska
Haines is a census-designated place in Haines Borough, Alaska, United States. As of the 2000 census, the population of the area was 1,811. Haines was formerly a city but no longer has a municipal government...

. As head of the War Department
United States Department of War
The United States Department of War, also called the War Department , was the United States Cabinet department originally responsible for the operation and maintenance of the United States Army...

's Alaska Road Commission
Alaska Road Commission
The Board of Road Commissioners for Alaska, more commonly known as the Alaska Road Commission or ARC, was created in 1905 as a board of the U.S. War Department...

 from 1905 to 1917, he was responsible for much of the surveying and building of early railroads, roads and bridges that helped the state’s settlement and growth. The Valdez
Valdez, Alaska
Valdez is a city in Valdez-Cordova Census Area in the U.S. state of Alaska. According to 2005 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city is 4,020. The city is one of the most important ports in Alaska. The port of Valdez was named in 1790 after the Spanish naval officer Antonio Valdés y...

-Fairbanks
Fairbanks, Alaska
Fairbanks is a home rule city in and the borough seat of the Fairbanks North Star Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska.Fairbanks is the largest city in the Interior region of Alaska, and second largest in the state behind Anchorage...

 Trail, surveyed under his direction in 1904, was named the Richardson Highway
Richardson Highway
The Richardson Highway is a highway in the U.S. state of Alaska, running 368 miles from Valdez to Fairbanks. It is marked as Alaska Route 4 from Valdez to Delta Junction and as Alaska Route 2 from there to Fairbanks. It is also connects segments of Alaska Route 1 between the Glenn Highway and the...

 in his honor.

Legacy

Fort Richardson was built during 1940–1941 on the site of what is now Elmendorf Air Force Base
Elmendorf Air Force Base
Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson is a United States military facility adjacent to Anchorage, the largest city in Alaska. It is an amalgamation of the former United States Air Force Elmendorf Air Force Base and the United States Army Fort Richardson, which were merged in 2010.-Overview:The...

. Established as the headquarters of the United States Army, Alaska
United States Army Alaska
United States Army Alaska is a military command of the United States Army located in the state of Alaska, USA. A subordinate command of the United States Army Pacific, USARAK is the ground element of the Alaskan Command. USARAK is headquartered at Fort Richardson and commanded by a major general...

 (USARAK) in 1947, the post moved to its present location five miles (8 km) northeast of Anchorage in 1950. The post then had barracks for 500 soldiers, a rifle range, a few warehouses, a hospital, and bachelor officer quarters. From 1986-1994 the fort was headquarters of the 6th Infantry Division (Light). Fort Richardson is now headquarters for United States Army Alaska (USARAK), a subordinate unit of United States Army Pacific Command
United States Army Pacific Command
United States Army Pacific is an Army Service Component Command of the United States Army and is the army component unit of the United States Pacific Command, except for units in Korea. The main areas that this command has jurisdiction in include Hawaii, Alaska, the Pacific Ocean, and Japan...

. For more than a decade, the major combat unit at Fort Richardson was Task Force 1-501, the only airborne infantry battalion in the Pacific Theater. Task Force 1-501 deployed to Afghanistan from October 2003 through August 2004.

The majority of USARAK combat forces were at Fort Wainwright
Fort Wainwright
Fort Wainwright is a United States Army post adjacent to Fairbanks in the U.S. state of Alaska. It is part of the Fairbanks, Alaska Metropolitan Statistical Area.-History:...

, 300 miles to the north, with Fort Richardson as the primary support base.

During the Army's expansion following the September 11, 2001 attacks
September 11, 2001 attacks
The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks (also referred to as September 11, September 11th or 9/119/11 is pronounced "nine eleven". The slash is not part of the pronunciation...

, Task Force 1-501 was expanded into an airborne brigade. Flagged as 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division
4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division (United States)
The 4th Brigade Combat Team , 25th Infantry Division is an airborne infantry brigade combat team of the United States Army. The unit is stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska and is the only airborne brigade combat team in the Pacific Theater...

, the unit is now the primary strategic response force for the Pacific Theater. It comprises two infantry battalions, one cavalry squadron, a small artillery battalion, a support battalion, and a special troops battalion. A full range of family and soldier support facilities common to any small Army community are found on post, ranging from a shoppette to childcare and recreational facilities. The post has small but modern dental and medical clinics, and receives major medical services from the 3rd Medical Group hospital at Elmendorf. The Joint Military Mall, also located on Elmendorf, provides post exchange and commissary services.

The post’s largest military tenant is the Alaska National Guard
Alaska National Guard
The Alaska Department of Military and Veterans Affairs manages military and veterans affairs for the U.S. state of Alaska. It comprises a number of subdepartments, including the Alaska National Guard, Veterans Affairs, the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Alaska Naval...

, with facilities at Camp Carroll and Camp Denali. Fort Richardson also hosts several non-military activities, including a United States National Cemetery
United States National Cemetery
"United States National Cemetery" is a designation for 146 nationally important cemeteries in the United States. A National Cemetery is generally a military cemetery containing the graves of U.S. military personnel, veterans and their spouses but not exclusively so...

 and a state-owned fish hatchery. According the Fort's website there are 5,418 soldiers, as well as over 8,300 family members housed at the base as of June 2008. The Fort also employs about 1,200 Army and DOD civilian employees. Fort Richardson's military payroll for fiscal year 2003 was $85 million. The civilian payroll was $49 million. Including other expenditures of $111 million, Fort Richardson put more than $245 million into the local economy
Economic system
An economic system is the combination of the various agencies, entities that provide the economic structure that defines the social community. These agencies are joined by lines of trade and exchange along which goods, money etc. are continuously flowing. An example of such a system for a closed...

.

The fort encompasses 62000 acre (25,091 ha), which includes space for offices, family housing, a heliport, a drop zone suitable for airborne and air/land operations, firing ranges and other training areas. Nearby mountain ranges offer soldiers the opportunity to learn mountain
Mountain
Image:Himalaya_annotated.jpg|thumb|right|The Himalayan mountain range with Mount Everestrect 58 14 160 49 Chomo Lonzorect 200 28 335 52 Makalurect 378 24 566 45 Mount Everestrect 188 581 920 656 Tibetan Plateaurect 250 406 340 427 Rong River...

/glacier
Glacier
A glacier is a large persistent body of ice that forms where the accumulation of snow exceeds its ablation over many years, often centuries. At least 0.1 km² in area and 50 m thick, but often much larger, a glacier slowly deforms and flows due to stresses induced by its weight...

 warfare and rescue techniques.

The Buckner
Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr.
General Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr. was an American lieutenant general during World War II. He served in the Pacific Theater of Operations and commanded the defenses of Alaska early in the war. After that assignment, he was promoted to command 10th Army, which conducted the amphibious assault on...

 Fieldhouse
is a 3,500 seat multi-purpose arena
Arena
An arena is an enclosed area, often circular or oval-shaped, designed to showcase theater, musical performances, or sporting events. It is composed of a large open space surrounded on most or all sides by tiered seating for spectators. The key feature of an arena is that the event space is the...

 on Fort Richardson. From 1978 to 1982, it was home to the Great Alaska Shootout
Great Alaska Shootout
The Great Alaska Shootout is an annual college basketball tournament in Anchorage, Alaska that features colleges from all over the United States. The University of Alaska Anchorage hosts the tournament every Thanksgiving. Tournament games are played at Sullivan Arena in Anchorage...

 basketball tournament. It was replaced as the Shootout venue when the Sullivan Arena
Sullivan Arena
The George M. Sullivan Arena is an arena in Anchorage, Alaska. The arena opened in 1983 and has a seating capacity of 8,700 for basketball, 6,251 for hockey...

 opened in 1983. Along with the West Anchorage High School
West Anchorage High School
West Anchorage High School is a public high school in Anchorage in the U.S. state of Alaska and part of the Anchorage School District.-History:The school was established as Anchorage High School in 1953, during a boom period in Anchorage...

 gymnasium and the former Anchorage Sports Arena on Fireweed Lane, the Buckner Fieldhouse served as a venue for various other events which later moved to the Sullivan Arena and the William A. Egan Civic and Convention Center upon those facilities' completion.

Unification with Elmendorf AFB

Under the current base unification procedure, which began finalization in the summer of 2010, Elmendorf AFB and Fort Richardson are being consolidated. This action is being taken as a result of decisions made by the Base Closure and Realignment Commission. The combined base will be known as Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. Most of the current civilian base employees will now be Air Force employees.

Base Realignment and Closure, 2005

The Department of Defense
United States Department of Defense
The United States Department of Defense is the U.S...

 proposed a major realignment of the base as part of the Base Realignment and Closure
Base Realignment and Closure, 2005
The preliminary 2005 Base Realignment and Closure list was released by the United States Department of Defense on May 13, 2005. It is the fifth Base Realignment and Closure proposal generated since the process was created in 1988. It recommends closing 33 major United States military bases and...

 program announced on 13 May 2005. Currently, under the plan, one F-15E and one F-15C squadron have been replaced with the F-22, and the C-130 fleet has been replaced with the C-17 Globemaster III
C-17 Globemaster III
The Boeing C-17 Globemaster III is a large military transport aircraft. Developed for the United States Air Force from the 1980s to the early 1990s by McDonnell Douglas, the C-17 is used for rapid strategic airlift of troops and cargo to main operating bases or forward operating bases throughout...

.

Notable aviation accidents

On 22 September 1995, a Boeing E-3 Sentry Airborne early warning and control aircraft with 22 USAF personnel and two Canadian
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 air crew members on board crashed and burned after colliding with a flock of Canada Geese
Canada Goose
The Canada Goose is a wild goose belonging to the genus Branta, which is native to arctic and temperate regions of North America, having a black head and neck, white patches on the face, and a brownish-gray body....

, killing all on board.

On 28 July 2010, a Boeing C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft practicing for an upcoming airshow crashed
2010 Alaska C-17 crash
The 2010 Alaska C-17 crash occurred on July 28, 2010, when a United States Air Force military transport plane crashed on Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska with the loss of all four crew aboard. The aircraft involved was a Boeing C-17 Globemaster III and the crash is believed to be the first fatal...

 into a wooded area within the base, killing all four air crew members; three from the Alaska Air National Guard
Alaska Air National Guard
The Alaska Air National Guard is the component of the United States Air National Guard operating within the state of Alaska.-Overview:Alaska Air National Guard units are trained and equipped as part of the United States Air Force. The same ranks and insignia are used and National Guardsmen are...

 and one from the USAF. The cause of the accident has been reported to be pilot error. The pilot performed an aggressive righthand turn and ignored the aircraft's stall warning, continuing the turn until the aircraft stalled due to lack of airspeed. The low altitude of the turn made it impossible for the crew to recover from the stall in time to avoid impacting the ground. The C-17 crashed just 100 yards from the site of the 1995 E-3 AWACS crash.

On 16 November 2010, a Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor took off for a training mission. At approximately 1900 hrs., the base reported that the aircraft was overdue and missing. Air Force rescue teams were reported to be concentrating their search for the missing plane and pilot in Denali National Park. The F-22's crash site was found about 100 miles north of Anchorage near the town of Cantwell, Alaska
Cantwell, Alaska
Cantwell was a railway flag stop at the junction with the Denali Highway. The original town is off the Parks Highway. It is a census-designated place in Denali Borough, Alaska, United States...

. The pilot, of the US Air Force's 525th Fighter Squadron
525th Fighter Squadron
The 525th Fighter Squadron is a United States Air Force unit. It is assigned to the 3d Operations Group and stationed at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska.-Overview:...

, was killed in the crash.

See also

  • Alaska World War II Army Airfields
    Alaska World War II Army Airfields
    During World War II, Alaska was a major United States Army Air Force location for personnel, aircraft, and airfields to support Lend-Lease aid for the Soviet Union...

  • Arctic Thunder Air Show
    Arctic Thunder Air Show
    The Arctic Thunder Air Show is an air show and open house event held bi annually at Elmendorf Air Force Base outside of Anchorage, Alaska since 1990. It is a free event open to the general public and one of the largest public events in Alaska...

  • Eleventh Air Force
    Eleventh Air Force
    The Eleventh Air Force is a numbered air force of the United States Air Force Pacific Air Forces . It is headquartered at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska....

  • United States Pacific Air Forces
    United States Pacific Air Forces
    Pacific Air Forces is a Major Command of the United States Air Force. PACAF is also the air component of the United States Pacific Command . PACAF is headquartered at Hickam Air Force Base Hawaii. It is one of two USAF Major Commands assigned outside of the Continental United States, the other...



Base Realignment and Closure 2005 Department of Defense Joint Basing Program:

  • Joint Base Lewis-McChord
    Joint Base Lewis-McChord
    Joint Base Lewis-McChord is a United States military facility located south-southwest of Tacoma, Washington. The facility is under the jurisdiction of the United States Army Joint Base Garrison, Joint Base Lewis-McChord....

  • Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst
  • Joint Base Andrews
  • Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling
    Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling
    Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling is a military installation, located in Southeast Washington, D.C., established on 1 October 2010 in accordance with congressional legislation implementing the recommendations of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission...

  • Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall
    Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall
    Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall is a base of the United States military that is located in Virginia which is made up of Fort Myer, Fort McNair, and Henderson Hall. It was created as the result of the Base Realignment and Closure, 2005 process...

  • Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson

  • Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam
    Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam
    Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam is a United States military facility adjacent to Honolulu, Hawaii. It is an amalgamation of the former United States Air Force Hickam Air Force Base and the United States Navy Naval Base Pearl Harbor, which were merged in 2010.-Overview:Joint Base Pearl...

  • Joint Base San Antonio
    Joint Base San Antonio
    Joint Base San Antonio is a United States military facility located in San Antonio, Texas. The facility is under the jurisdiction of the United States Air Force 502d Air Base Wing, Air Education and Training Command ....

  • Joint Base Charleston
    Joint Base Charleston
    Joint Base Charleston is a United States military facility located in North Charleston, South Carolina. The facility is under the jurisdiction of the United States Air Force 628th Air Base Wing, Air Mobility Command...

  • Joint Base Langley-Eustis
    Joint Base Langley-Eustis
    Joint Base Langley–Eustis is a United States military facility located in Hampton and Newport News, Virginia. The facility is under the jurisdiction of the United States Air Force 633rd Air Base Wing, Air Combat Command...

  • Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story
    Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story
    Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story is a base of the United States military that is located in the Virginia Beach, Virginia which is made up of Fort Story and Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek. It was created as the result of the Base Realignment and Closure, 2005 process...

  • Joint Region Marianas
    Joint Region Marianas
    Joint Region Marianas is a United States military facility located on Guam. The facility is under the jurisdiction of the United States Navy.-Overview:...



External links


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    • FAA Alaska Airport Diagram (GIF
      GIF
      The Graphics Interchange Format is a bitmap image format that was introduced by CompuServe in 1987 and has since come into widespread usage on the World Wide Web due to its wide support and portability....

      )
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