Friday, February 19, 2010


The Idaho potentates involved in such matters have kicked into high gear in an effort to get the Air Force to site 1 - 3 squadrons of the new F-3 aircraft here. As I understand it (and admittedly my understanding is not deep or fully informed), an operational squadron could go to Mountain Home, and a training squadron could be put on Gowen field. One, or the other, or both. And somewhere along the line a third squadron might be sited here as well.

Well, if the training squadron goes to Gowen, it will be an Idaho Air National Guard mission. As such, it will pretty much double the number of Air Guardsmen in the state (which then will make Army and Air Guard have about the same number of personnel). Big budget increase, of course, but only for the Air Guard.

I think this would be great. The benefit would go almost exclusively to the Treasure valley, though (for the Guard mission). See, Army Guard is situated in towns all over the state, from Rexburg to Preston to Burley to Hailey to Emmett to Grangeville to Sandpoint, and lots of other towns and cities in between. Air Guard, on the other hand, is all in Boise; that's where the planes are. You really can't put military aircraft in little towns around the state; they've got to be near the runways and maintenance facilities that support them.

The current 2-star general in charge of all of the Idaho National Guard, Army and Air, is a blue-suiter, and he's got the Air Guard all jazzed up and going full speed ahead in pursuit of this new mission. Not much the Army Guard can do to help, really, plus they're focused on the upcoming deployment.

Good luck to the Air Guard in getting this mission (though if they do, I'll be glad I don't live near the airport; apparently the F-35 is one noisy aircraft).

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