So Long Galena

The Air Force on Sept. 23 presented a ceremonial key to the city of Galena for its forward operating location at Galena Airport in Alaska, carrying out a BRAC 2005 action that went largely unopposed. The Galena facility has operated since World War II, when it provided a way station for lend-lease aircraft going to aid Russian efforts against Nazi Germany. Now, the Galena Interior Learning Academy, which began operations at the airport in 1996, plans to use former Air Force buildings to instruct and house more students from the numerous villages that had to close schools due to low enrollment, reports the News-Miner. At the turnover ceremony, Col. Brent Johnson, commander of the 611th Air Support Group at Elmendorf Air Force Base, said, “There have been some very visionary people that have embraced this concept of using the former military facilities for a school and turning these students into very productive partners in our communities.” (Galena report by Tommie Baker)