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Eielson hosts Arctic Lightning Airshow, first in over a decade

More than 12,000 people attended ALA 2019 where they saw a variety of static displays and aerial performances including the F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-22 Raptor, F-35A Lightning II, KC-135 Stratotanker and T-33 Acemaker.

U.S. Air Force Capt. Jacob “Primo” Impellizzeri, Pacific Air Forces F-16 Demo Team commander and pilot, waves at the crowd as he taxis during the 2019 Arctic Lightning Airshow (ALA 2019) at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, July 13, 2019. More than 12,000 people attended ALA 2019 where they saw a variety of static displays and aerial performances including the F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-22 Raptor, F-35A Lightning II, KC-135 Stratotanker and T-33 Acemaker. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Eric M. Fisher)

More than 12,000 people attended ALA 2019 where they saw a variety of static displays and aerial performances including the F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-22 Raptor, F-35A Lightning II, KC-135 Stratotanker and T-33 Acemaker.

A U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor assigned to the 3rd Wing taxis after performing an aerial demonstration during the 2019 Arctic Lightning Airshow (ALA 2019) at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, July 13, 2019. ALA 2019 afforded the community a rare opportunity to see both the F-22 and F-35A Lightning II in action together. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Eric M. Fisher)

More than 12,000 people attended ALA 2019 where they saw a variety of static displays and aerial performances including the F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-22 Raptor, F-35A Lightning II, KC-135 Stratotanker and T-33 Acemaker.

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-35A Lightning II and an Alaska Air National Guard KC-135 Stratotanker fly overhead at the completion of the 2019 Arctic Lightning Airshow (ALA 2019) at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, July 13, 2019. More than 12,000 people attended ALA 2019 where they saw a variety of static displays and aerial performances including the F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-22 Raptor, F-35A Lightning II, KC-135 Stratotanker and T-33 Acemaker. (courtesy photo)

More than 12,000 people attended ALA 2019 where they saw a variety of static displays and aerial performances including the F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-22 Raptor, F-35A Lightning II, KC-135 Stratotanker and T-33 Acemaker.

A U.S. Air Force F-35A Lighting II flies overhead during an aerial demonstration at the 2019 Arctic Lightning Airshow (ALA 2019) on Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, July 13, 2019. ALA 2019 afforded the community a rare opportunity to see both the F-22 and F-35A Lightning II in action together. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Eric M. Fisher)

More than 12,000 people attended ALA 2019 where they saw a variety of static displays and aerial performances including the F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-22 Raptor, F-35A Lightning II, KC-135 Stratotanker and T-33 Acemaker.

U.S. Air Force honor guardsmen assigned to Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, prepare to present colors during the 2019 Arctic Lightning Airshow (ALA 2019) opening ceremony at Eielson AFB, July 13, 2019. ALA 2019 was the base’s and interior Alaska’s first airshow since 2008 and hosted more than 12,000 guests from the local community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Eric M. Fisher)

More than 12,000 people attended ALA 2019 where they saw a variety of static displays and aerial performances including the F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-22 Raptor, F-35A Lightning II, KC-135 Stratotanker and T-33 Acemaker.

A T-33 Acemaker flies overhead during an aerial demonstration at the 2019 Arctic Lightning Airshow (ALA 2019) on Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, July 13, 2019. ALA 2019 afforded the community a rare opportunity to see both the F-22 and F-35A Lightning II in action together. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Eric M. Fisher)

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska --

 Eielson hosted the 2019 Arctic Lightning Airshow July 13, 2019, the first airshow to be hosted here in more than 10 years. 

More than 12,000 attendees had a unique opportunity to see both of the U.S. Air Force’s 5th generation aircraft, with demonstrations by the Air Force F-35 Demonstration Team and 3rd Wing’s F-22 Raptors. Other acts included the Pacific Air Forces F-16 Viper Demonstration Team, the T-33 Acemaker and the Alaska Air National Guard 168th Air Refueling Wing’s KC-135 Stratotanker. 

Before the opening ceremony, a group of Air Force recruits in the local Delayed Entry Program, a U.S. Air Force program where recruits enlist but must wait to go through basic military training, had the opportunity to take the oath of enlistment in front of the F-35. 

Alaska Governor Michael J. Dunleavy and Col. Benjamin Bishop, 354th Fighter Wing commander, kicked off the airshow with opening remarks. 

“Today is an opportunity for those of us in uniform to thank the community for the amazing support you provide each and everyday,” said Bishop. 

The PACAF F-16 demonstration started off the aerial demonstrations, followed by the F-35 Lightning II and T-33 Acemaker. 

A joint forces demonstration gave spectators a first-hand experience of what it would look like if U.S. forces were to take over an airfield, along with a demonstration of a KC-135 refueling an F-22 mid-air before leading into the F-22 demonstration. 

“My family has really enjoyed the airshow,” said Joel Mosier, a spectator from Houston, Texas. “The thing I’ve enjoyed is allowing my kids to be around the military, it’s exciting to see all the planes and to try out all of the different gear and equipment.”

Finally the airshow wrapped up with a three ship flyover by the KC-135, F-16 and F-35, leaving spectators in awe as they made their last pass.

Throughout the day-long event, both members of the local and base communities came together to enjoy a fantastic display of airpower and get a glimpse of Eielson and Alaska’s future with the arrival of the F-35 in April 2020.