FAIRBANKS, Alaska - As Eielson prepares for the F-35s' arrival, Colonel Bishop spoke at the Chamber of Commerce luncheon about how vital the community is to the 354th Fighter Wing.
"As we look to grow the F-35 mission and the 354th Fighter Wing mission and the Eielson Air Force base mission. We're going to use that growth to communicate with the community to make sure that happens in a sustainable manner. So the more we interact and the more we communicate and grow together, means we're going to be more effective at our mission," he said.
This mission will be growing as the 54 F-35s arrive at Eielson and bring with them a combat focus.
"Previously, we've had the training mission at Eielson Air Force Base with the 354th Fighter Wing in conjunction with the 168th wing, the in-air refueling mission at the national guard, but what's different is we're bringing F-35's which actually have that combat prediction ability and we'll be training for that mission very shortly in the skies of Alaska," he said.
But Bishop says they do have some concerns about filling civilian jobs on Eielson, they currently have 100 open jobs they are trying to fill.
"We have our military work force, but we also have our civilian workforce, so as the F-35 community brings here, there's going to be new jobs and we need to get good quality people in those jobs. So, if there's anyone out there that's looking forward to joining the Eielson team, we have job openings," he said.
The first F-35 will be arriving in Alaska in April 2020.