Icemen unveil the Joint Mobility Complex as the Stevens Joint Mobility Complex during a dedication ceremony Aug. 9, 2012, Eielson AFB, Alaska. The facility is capable of processing more than 1,000 deploying personnel per day. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jim Araos)
Lisa Murkowski, Alaskan senator, and U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Mark Kelly, 354th Fighter Wing commander, commemorate the Stevens Joint Mobility Complex dedication ceremony Aug. 9, 2012, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. The facility was renamed in honor the late Senator Ted Stevens. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jim Araos)
Eielson Air Force Base and Fort Wainwright honor guard members post the colors at the Stevens Joint Mobility Complex dedication ceremony Aug. 9, 2012, Eielson AFB, Alaska. Since 2003, over 30,000 Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines have transitioned through the facility. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jim Araos)
by Senior Airman Janine Thibault
354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
8/17/2012 - EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- Eielson and Ft. Wainwright members, along with friends and family of the late Senator Ted Stevens gathered at the Joint Mobility Complex here for a renaming and dedication ceremony Aug 9.
The JMC, operational since 2003, was renamed the Stevens Joint Mobility Complex honoring Senator Stevens and his service to the state of Alaska and the nation.
"When I think of Senator Stevens, a pioneer or trailblazer is what immediately comes to mind," said Col. Mark Freitag, Ft. Wainwright deputy commander. "Throughout his career, he campaigned tirelessly to advance numerous initiatives both in Alaska and across our nation."
With the command "OK, let's let her rip" given by Ted Stevens' wife, Catherine Stevens, the cloth was removed to reveal "Stevens Joint Mobility Complex" in silver lettering.
"Some of the most defining moments in a service member's life begins and ends at the JMC," said Senator Lisa Murkowski. "How fitting it is that we join together today to honor an individual who not only appreciated that very fact but lived it through his distinguished and his heroic service to our nation."
After the need for a global reach deployment platform was recognized, Eielson was identified as a prime location that could support large scale deployments of forces stationed within Interior Alaska.
"[Stevens] immediately welcomed the idea, in large part by his knowledge and sincere connections to the men and women of the armed forces," said Ben Barrio, 354th Logistics Readiness Squadron assistant installation deployment officer.
The 58,000 sq. ft. complex became fully operational in the fall of 2003 facilitating the deployment of more than 7,000 Airmen and 1.5 million tons of cargo for A-10 Thunderbolt II, F-16 Fighting Falcons and KC-135 Stratotanker combat operations. Over time, the JMC has supported the transit of more than 30,000 Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines.
"While we routinely in our daily jobs face difficult decisions, the decision to dedicate this facility to Senator Ted Stevens was beyond obvious," said Brig. Gen. Mark Kelly, 354th Fighter Wing commander. "His benevolence to Alaska, his benevolence to our military and our nation endures in this facility as every serviceman, woman and partner will enter under his namesake."
The JMC has been the starting point for thousands of service members on their way to provide a presence in whatever capacity they are required.
"It is so right to associate Ted Stevens with the JMC," said Murkowski. "A deployment is one of the most challenging and stressful moments in a service member's career. Ted Stevens dedicated his life to enabling those who serve to deploy with confidence knowing you've got the best equipment, the best tactics and clearly the best leadership."