Kulis Air National Guard Base
The Alaska Air National Guard (AKANG) was organized in 1952 as the 8144th Air Base Squadron at Elmendorf AFB, operating T-6 aircraft with the Alaskan Air Command (AAC) as its gaining command. In 1955, it moved to Kulis ANG Base (adjacent to Anchorage International Airport) and was designated the 144th Fighter Bomber Squadron flying T-33, F-80 and F-86 aircraft. In 1957, airlift became its primary mission. In 1969, a parent organization was created, was designated the 176th Tactical Airlift Group, which ultimately formed the nucleus of the present 176th Wing. In 2005, the DoD recommended to relocate the 179th Wing to Elmendorf AFB, AK, as part of recommendation that would close Kulis AFB (for details see BRAC 2005 below).
Since Kulis ANGB lacks any lodging facilities, personnel are billet at Elmendorf AFB. In the event quarters are unavailable, Kulis ANGB maintains a contract quarters agreement with the Days Inn downtown.
Kulis ANGB, located near South Airpark, operated and performed maintenance on both C130 Hercules turboprop aircraft and helicopters. This maintenance activity included aircraft maintenance run-ups, aircraft engine run-ups on test stands, and helicopter hovering for maintenance purposes. Although this activity on Kulis ANGB was not directly under the jurisdiction of Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, as a tenant of the airport the sources of ground noise at Kulis ANGB were included in noise studies.
Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport is the major air gateway to Alaska. It also has the distinction of being the key international cargo crossroads for transpacific freighter activity. With 24-hour operations, growth continues in international and domestic passenger service as well as international cargo.
On May 28, 1948 the 80th Congress approved $13 million to fund two Alaskan "international type" airports in Anchorage and Fairbanks. Thomas Bourne Associates' master plan called for two 7,000 ft runways. Elmendorf desire for alternate, funding limitations, and inflation lead to construction of two runways 6/24 EAST/WEST 8,400 FT 13/31 NORTH/SOUTH 5,000 FT. Airfield operations begin December 1951. In 1967 it was decided to construct second, parallel East/West runway. Studies recommended a new North/South runway; but concerns from the military led to a decision to contruct parallel East/West runway. The new 10,897 ft parallel East/West runway 6L/24R, along side the existing East/West 10,600 ft 6R/24L, was completed in 1970. In 1980 the new 10,496 ft North/South runway was complted, after military withdraws objections. In 2000 the airport was re-named "Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport" in honor of Alaska's senior United States Senator, Ted Stevens.
Secretary of Defense Recommendation: Close Kulis Air Guard Station (AGS), AK. Relocate the 176th Wing (ANG) and associated aircraft (eight C-130Hs, three HC-130Ns, and five HH-60s) and the Expeditionary Combat Support (ECS) elements to Elmendorf Air Force Base, AK. Realign Elmendorf Air Force Base. With the addition of four aircraft from another installation (see Air Force recommendation for Ellsworth Air Force Base and Dyess Air Force Base), the 176th Wing at Elmendorf will form an ANG/active duty association with 12 C-130H aircraft. The 3d Wing at Elmendorf Air Force Base will distribute 24 of 42 assigned F-15C/D aircraft to the 1st Fighter Wing, Langley Air Force Base, VA.
Secretary of Defense Justification: This recommendation distributes C-130, HC-130 and HH-60 aircraft from Kulis AGS (110) to Elmendorf Air Force Base (51), which has a higher military value. Moving these aircraft to Elmendorf Air Force Base consolidates two installations in the same city, reduces infrastructure, creates an active/ARC association, and retains the skilled, highly trained ANG personnel from Kulis AGS. This recommendation also distributes a portion of the F-15C/Ds at Elmendorf Air Force Base (36-fighter) to Langley Air Force Base (2-fighter). Elmendorf retains one squadron (18 aircraft) for air sovereignty missions and distributes the remaining 24 F-15Cs to Langley Air Force Base.
Community Concerns: Alaskan community representatives argued DoD underestimated the costs of the move, citing a recent Air Force site survey estimating the relocation would require more than initially estimated. While acknowledging the move would benefit development of Anchorage International Airport, the community notes Air Guard operations would suffer if the move is underfunded. The Governor stated that his consent to the proposed relocation would be contingent on adequate funding.
Commission Findings: The Commission found that the relocation of the C-130s and helicopters from Kulis to Elmendorf, while consistent with the BRAC selection criteria, would be considerably more expensive than originally estimated. The Commission notes that the Governor of Alaska as well as its Adjutant General supports the relocation of Kulis AGS to Elmendorf, if properly funded. If significantly under-funded, the commission is concerned that the readiness of the Air National Guard unit could be negatively impacted. Therefore, the Commission supports the DoD recommendation to move the ANG C-130 and HH- 60 on Kulis AGS, contingent on the availability of adequate military construction funds to provide the necessary facilities at Elmendorf AFB.
The Commission identified no impediments to the proposed realignment of Elmendorf AFB, and relocation of some of its F-15 aircraft to Langley AFB, VA. Elmendorf is scheduled to receive F/A-22 aircraft outside of the BRAC process. The F-15s that remain at Elmendorf would continue to conduct the air sovereignty and other mission in Alaska. Because of changes in other recommendations, the full complement of C-130s may have to come from elsewhere than locations noted in the original recommendation.
Commission Recommendations: The Commission found that the Secretary of Defense deviated substantially from final selection criteria 1 and 5, as well as from the Force Structure Plan. Therefore, the Commission recommends the following:
Contingent on the availability of adequate military construction funds to provide the necessary facilities at Elmendorf AFB, AK, close Kulis Air Guard Station (AGS), AK. Relocate the 176th Wing (ANG) and associated aircraft (eight C-130Hs, three HC-130Ns, and five HH-60s) and Expeditionary Combat Support (ECS) to Elmendorf Air Force Base, AK.
Realign Elmendorf Air Force Base. The 176th Wing at Elmendorf will form an ANG/active duty association with 12 C- 130H aircraft. The Commission recommends 3d Wing at Elmendorf Air Force Base will distribute 18 of 42 assigned F-15C/D aircraft to the 1st Fighter Wing, Langley Air Force Base, VA and 6 to an Air National Guard unit.
The Commission found that this change and the recommendation as amended are consistent with the final selection criteria and the Force Structure Plan. The full text of this and all Commission recommendations can be found in Appendix Q.