Eielson AFB Colonel David Berkland gives “State of the Wing Address” at Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce meeting

A representative from Eielson Air Force Base gave an update to the Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce on current and upcoming events in the works for this year.
Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 3:10 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - During the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce meeting, today, Tuesday, Jan. 24, Colonel David Berkland, with the 354th Fighter Wing at Eielson Air Force Base gave an update on current and upcoming events that are in the works for the 2023 year.

Colonel Berkland, started the “State of the Wing Address” by giving an overview of Eielson Air Force Base and its strategic location. He quoted General Billy Mitchell by saying, “whoever holds Alaska, holds the world.”

He explained the jets at Eielson can travel to anywhere in the northern hemisphere in one “sortie” or one flight, making the location of the base an integral component to fighting any possible adversaries. For this reason, Eielson was able to have the largest fleet of 5th-generation fighter jets. Berkland noted there will be an addition of four KC-135′s arriving this year to the base.

Another topic discussed was the increase of personnel and family to the base and housing accommodations, and the installation of a micro-nuclear reactor to the base as a supplemental source of energy.

“So the micro reactor is not going to be big enough. It’s gonna be about 5 mega-watts is what we expect. It’s not going to be big enough to take over the power or heating requirements at Eielson, but it will be a great concept demonstrator and technology demonstrator that i believe has traction across the state of Alaska. You can imagine some of the remote villages that could utilize a micro-nuclear reactor to provide both power and heat,” said Col. David “AJAX” Berkland.

Colonel Berkland explained the air force has received the request for proposals for the reactor, but have not selected a vendor yet.

More upcoming events include the Air Show in July and Red Flag training exercises in May and August.