Clear Air Force Station is one of the most strategically important installations in the United States. The location of the base places it in an invaluable position for defensive monitoring of the west coast and Untied States as a whole. The station is one of the first in a series of early detection installations that monitor for enemy ballistic missile and intercontinental nuclear ballistic missile (ICBM) launch. In addition to playing a vital defensive role, the base also plays a role in Untied States space operations, with cutting edge radar and satellite capabilities.
Clear Air Force Station is located in central Alaska, approximately 1 mile from Anderson, 78 miles from Fairbanks and 100 miles from Mount McKinley. Located along a now defunct railroad line, the base sits in a large clearing, void of any large landmarks that could potentially cause interference. This allows the base systems to maintain clear reception of all systems and detect incoming singles in all directions. The location of the base serves a political purpose as well as defensive, being the one of the closest US installations to Russian air space.
Clear Air Force Station was originally constructed on land purchased by the US Government in 1949 along the then, in heavy use, Alaska Railroad. The installation was dubbed Clear Air Force Auxiliary Field and was part of the Alaska Air Command. The area around the airfield was populated with small military installations, each supporting the other and being supplied from the railroad. By early 1960, it became clear that while technologically advanced, the base facilities and support had outgrown the capabilities of support and sustainment. With tensions at a high between the United States and Soviet Union, the US Government undertook a significant expansion and upgrade of the now named Clear Air Force Station.
Clear Air Force Station quickly excelled at its given missions, and by early 1970 had received its first of many awards for outstanding performance of mission and operating systems. Continuing its now established tradition of being on the forefront, Clear Air Force Station saw its first female officers less by 1973. In the 1980s’ as the fall of the Soviet Union became inevitable, the base saw a serious downgrade in facilities along with the reallocation of personnel and assets. It was widely believed at that point that much of the equipment and facilities at that station were so out of date that they were unsafe for Air Force personnel to be operating.
In 2000, the base received several rounds of rapid upgrades and refurbishment, making it fully operational once again. Despite the base being in a decrepit state for part of its tenure, it has still managed to perform its mission with resounding success. The only time in its history that the base has been unable to perform was during the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake, the second most powerful recorded earthquake in history. During the earthquake the base systems were nonoperational for less than six minutes.
Housing at Clear Air Force Station depends on a number of variables. Base housing is extremely limited and is therefore subject to the ebb and flow of active duty personnel on site. For active duty Air Force personnel with orders to the base, advance paperwork is required. The minimum processing time is 30 days, with good odds of initial rejection due to housing capacity. Wait times of one year are not uncommon when applying for on base housing at Clear Air Force Station.
If on base housing is unavailable, service members will be assigned a hotel room and guide. The guide will help will help the service member and his family adjust to life in Alaska, move and settle and answer any questions about life on post.