Situated about 23 miles south of Fairbanks, Eielson Air Force Base is home to the 354th Fighter Wing, which supports Red Flag – Alaska, a 10-day air combat training exercise held four times per year. Eielson AFB was established in 1943 and is named for polar pilot Carl Ben Eielson.
Fairbanks is the second largest city in Alaska, with about 35,000 residents. Fairbanks is the best “big city” choice when searching for an apartment near Eielson Air Force Base, but it isn’t the closest – than honor belongs to North Pole, a quirky community halfway between Fairbanks and Eielson AFB.
North Pole isn’t actually located at the geographic North Pole; it is 1,700 miles south of the actual pole, but it is home to Santa Claus, and tourists visit the area during the holidays to visit the Santa Claus attractions, including the Santa Claus House, a gift shop that boasts the world’s largest Santa statue outside.