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11th Air Force leaders visit Eielson
U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Russell Handy, 11th Air Force commander, Chief Master Sgt. Jerry Moore Jr., 11th Air Force command chief, and Brig. Gen. Mark Kelly, 354th Fighter Wing commander, tour the Central Heat and Power Plant with Marty Overlin, 354th Civil Engineer Squadron central heat and power plant superintendent, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Nov. 21, 2013. Handy and Moore stopped at Eielson to visit the Airmen and familiarize themselves with Eielson's unique operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Peter Reft/Released)
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ALCOM commander visits Eielson

Posted 11/26/2013   Updated 11/26/2013 Email story   Print story


by Senior Airman Ashley Nicole Taylor
354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

11/26/2013 - EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- The newly appointed senior military leader of Alaskan Command and 11th Air Force visited Eielson Air Force Base Nov. 21 to see the Iceman team first-hand.

Lt. Gen. Russell Handy, who took command in August, saw the sights and sounds of Eielson, met with Airmen and learned about the mission.

"I thought the timing was good, since we've had a somewhat rapid transition into winter, to see the Icemen and remind everybody that they're important to the mission, not just here in Alaska, but across the Pacific and Northern Command," said Handy. "I wanted to get the perspectives on how things are, interact with our men and women and get their thoughts as we try to navigate through this resource-constrained environment."

Throughout the course of the commander's visit, he received several briefings on the importance of Eielson's strategic mission in regard to training and readiness, with the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex being a huge national asset for joint training with the U.S. and national partners.

"Due to its location and size, the JPARC provides a unique capability to host a lot of partner nations in training," said Handy. "We're centrally located, so there's a reason why we have a giant runway with a big ramp and 26 million gallons of fuel here. This reason, along with the fact that we host our aggressor squadron here, makes it very important for readiness."

Handy's visit also included a meeting with Eielson's community businesses and local officials of the Civilian Advisory Board.

"I met with the Fairbanks area North Star Borough CAB to update them on the Department of Defense's perspective about what's going on in the military and what it means to the community," said Handy. "They interact so closely with the military to support our base and our Airmen, they can get out there and be a force multiplier."

Additionally, Handy spoke with the University of Alaska Fairbanks officials to discuss their close partnership with ALCOM.

"We've actually signed a memorandum of agreement with UAF that says we'll share information and work together on evolving in the Arctic and share ideas on technologies of what works in this environment," said Handy. "UAF is recognized as the center of excellence across the whole country with regard to Arctic issues."

During his visit, Handy added the key to successfully accomplishing Eielson's mission is preparation and being good wingmen.

"For folks to do these kinds of missions and fly and operate these flight lines in this kind of weather, it is important to physically and mentally prepare yourself," Handy said. "Being a good wingman means paying attention to one another. A lot of being able to get the mission done is taking care of each other and treating each other with dignity and respect. I want to thank everyone here for getting a very challenging mission accomplished. Icemen do this every day, and they get it done in the harshest climate."

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