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Closer to Home: Air Force officials from Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, on Sept. 29 attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new $11 million landing strip at Allen Army Airfield north of the base, which is now available for Elmendorf’s C-17s to practice assault landings. As part of the ceremony, the first assault landing drill took place. “We are excited to expand our C-17 training operations” at Allen, said Col. Thomas Bergeson, head Elmendorf’s 3rd Wing. Before Allen, which is USAF’s seventh assault landing strip, Elmendorf's C-17s had to fly to a strip just outside of McChord AFB, Wash., a six-hour roundtrip costing $100,000 worth of fuel. Having access to Allen will prove beneficial for efficiently preparing Elmendorf’s pilots for overseas operations, said Lt. Col. Andy Hird, commander of Elmendorf’s 517th Airlift Squadron. Allen will also be used for high- and low-altitude approaches. (Elmendorf report by A1C Christopher Gross)