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FAIRBANKS -- The U.S. Air Force selected Eielson Air Force Base as the preferred location for the first squadrons of F-35 fighter aircraft in the Pacific, the next step in a process that could lead to a final decision next year on basing 48 aircraft in Alaska.
In a phone interview, Begich said the deployment could mean about 2,000 Air Force personnel and dependents would transfer to Eielson. He said the decision to include a preferred site and no alternates is a good one for Alaska.
"With the military aspects, there's no question where we rated," Begich said. "They just looked at the overwhelming evidence that Alaska is the right location."
In a phone interview with Murkowski, she said the selection of a single preferred location gives her confidence that the final decision will be to locate the aircraft in Alaska and not in Japan or Korea.