City Government

F-35 Challenge: Let Us See And Hear It!

The Idaho National Guard announced Wednesday that Boise’s Gowen Field is one of five locations the U.S. Air Force is considering as a base for about 18 F-35 fighter jets.

The announcement, featured in the STATESMAN is just another in a long line of moves which have never included direct citizen input to the Air Force, Dept. of Defense, or the Federal Aviation Administration regarding the F-35. Boise’s airport flew banners “supporting the F-35” in the terminal and the City Council has gone on record supporting basing the noisy fighter in the most densely populated area between Salt Lake City and Seattle–Boise.

The GUARDIAN offers a challenge to the Idaho Air Guard and the U.S. Air Force: before you do any more projections, surveys, studies, open houses, community meetings, or public hearings: LET US HEAR THE DAMNED AIRPLANE!

We are sick and tired of having the Secretary of the Air Force sneak into town and refuse to meet with citizens (or the media), the city council endorsing the F-35, assorted sound surveys based on computer models, and projections.

When the airport director held an open house Nov. 16, the room was overcapacity at 150 citizens who didn’t want to hear her sales pitch. They wanted the F-35 or F-15 to be based at Mountain Home AFB.

The F-35 program is so wrapped in politics, those of us who pay the bills will be forced to listen to the “found of freedom” make our homes uninhabitable. The GUARDIAN has attended several meetings of nearby residents and local government officials. Each time the locals claim they have no influence over the United States Department of Defense.

When citizens complained they are barred from serving on various airport committees the answer was, those positions are for “technical experts,” who understand aviation, construction, etc. We got the same line from an Air Guard spokesman–verbatim.

The easy answer to this issue is to give the citizens of the area equal time and access as the politicos meeting with the Air Force Brass. There are plenty of aircraft in the inventory including cargo aircraft like the C-130 or C-17 that are not as noisy as the fighters. Even the refueling KC-135 and KC-10 are similar to their commercial airliner relatives when it comes to noise.

Our early New Year’s resolution is to have a pair of F-35 fighters come into Boise and demonstrate their standard take-off and landing procedures, including afterburner operation, “fighter approaches” with the tight flyby and return to the runway. The event should be publicized and decibel meters should record the noise levels. It’s not rocket science!

Read previous F-35 STORIES.

In case you have doubts regarding the politicos ignoring the pleas of the homeowners and other citizens who feel the F-35 belongs at Mountain Home, here is what the congressional delegation has to say in a joint press release:


WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Idaho congressional delegation welcomed the news that Gowen Field in Boise is among five candidates to become the home to a new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter squadron. The decision by Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James was announced Wednesday.

Gowen Field and the Idaho Air National Guard ranked highly among 18 candidates, based on factors including weather, training infrastructure, cost, facilities and environment.

The other four finalists are Dannelly Field Air Guard Station in Alabama, Jacksonville Air Guard Station in Florida, Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Michigan and Truax Field Air Guard Station in Wisconsin. Two Air Guard stations will be selected to support 18 to 24 aircraft.

The Air Force will conduct two-week site visits to each of the five candidates in the coming months and plans to select two “preferred” and two “reasonable” alternatives in the Spring of 2017. Those four bases will receive a complete Environmental Impact Analysis before the Secretary issues a final decision, expected in Spring 2019.

Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, said: “Today’s announcement confirms Gowen Field is an premier location for operations of the U.S. Air Force’s next generation fighter. Our state has a long and proud tradition of supporting our military and contributing to the nation’s defense, and we have the capabilities and air space optimal for an F-35 flying unit. As the Air Force moves ahead with the basing selection process, I look forward to continuing to offer my unwavering support for Idaho’s Air National Guard.”

Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, said: “I am pleased that Gowen Field is a candidate for the Air Force’s new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The Idaho Air National Guard would be a strong choice for the new F-35 due to Idaho’s world class ranges, available airspace for training, and the unparalleled support throughout the community. Idaho has been home to a range of cutting-edge aircraft and I look forward to continuing this tradition.”

Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, said: “I am delighted by the selection of Gowen Field as a candidate base for the next generation of aircraft — the F-35 fighter. Idaho has a proud history of supporting the National Guard, and I have the utmost confidence Gowen Field would continue this tradition as a steward of the F-35. I look forward to working with the delegation and the Idaho National Guard to ensure that Gowen Field’s first-class airspace and unparalleled facilities will be recognized as a perfect fit for this mission.”

Rep. Raúl Labrador, R-Idaho, said: “I’m thrilled that Gowen Field was selected as a finalist. I’m pleased that Secretary James recognized that our Air Guard Station is one of our military’s greatest assets. I look forward to working with the delegation as well as the Idaho National Guard to ensure that Gowen Field is given full and fair consideration in the final basing decision.”

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. I second the Guardian’s motion! Widely publicize the dates and times.

    It’s a wonderful, low-tech method of demonstrating to the peasants that their concerns are unwarranted – if that’s the truth. Or alternatively, maybe it will make the bigwigs see the light. (Hear the sound?) As much as they might want to believe the noise will only affect the dolts who are dumb enough to live “near the airport,” the truth MAY be that jet-fighter noise will affect even the affluent folks who live across the tracks.

  2. Amy Granger
    Dec 7, 2016, 5:05 pm

    LET US HEAR IT! When the Air Force conducts its two-week visits, I’d like them to bring a plane and fly it. AND have the mayor and all the other politicians who are “thrilled” that Gowen is a finalist stand at Whitney Elementary while the jet is taking off, flying, etc. Then we’ll see how “thrilled” everyone is.

  3. Chris Patrick
    Dec 7, 2016, 5:07 pm

    A STEALTH jet that makes too much NOISE…go figure lol

    Welcome to “NOISY BOISE”

  4. Monty Mericle
    Dec 7, 2016, 5:15 pm

    I find it ironic that the Air Force will spend $1.5 million dollars for another environmental Impact Study to determine what bringing a squadron of F-35s to Boise will do. Yet we already know the study results because the Air Force did the same EIS back in 2012. We know the answers. Over 1,100 homes reclassified as “Not Suitable For Residential Use.” Residents hearing damaged. Children’s learning problems at schools. Sleep and speech disrupted 13 times a day. Night flights. Afterburner use. Take-off noise levels at the threshhold of ear pain sweeping across the whole second bench. It was all in the 2012 final EIS. A second EIS is just a smokescreen for decisions that have already been made. And the 3,300 residents (yes, that is in the first study as well) who will be negatively affected are just considered collateral damage. After all, this is about big money, not keeping Boise “The Most Livable City in America.” Sorry Mayor, you really can’t have it both ways.

  5. Note that the supposedly non-fake internet news sources in Boise no longer have comment sections, which, of course, could spoil the supposed F35 love fest.
    The sound of freedom now includes a large black boot crushing the throat of anyone who challenges the Oligarchs shady plans.

  6. That is so sad that our leaders are pushing this very noisy plane into our neighborhoods. There are other alternatives in military airplanes and politicians that will fit our neighborhoods.

  7. Totally agree with the Boise Guardian.

    There has been ZERO effort to communicate honestly with the citizens of Boise nor have a mechanism in place to work for common solutions everyone can live with.

    If there is no other choice (highly doubtful) but to have F-35 (or F-16) jets in Boise, there are better options available to accommodate them than what is currently being proposed.

    Above all the citizens of Boise need to be heard, not ignored.

  8. There was supposed to be 4 finalists.
    So I wonder how they came up with 5?
    Do they expect 20% funding increase from Trump?
    Notice Gowen is the only finalist on the West coast, so it is a guaranteed finalist.
    Boise City Council has just approved a new development in the 600 acres southwest of the airport, where most of the flight tracks take place.
    Meaning they knew of these news released today, only much before the public.

  9. Steve RInehart
    Dec 7, 2016, 7:39 pm

    The smart choice, economically and socially, is Mnt Home. They have the base and they have the space. They need the jobs. Noise is not an issue. Closer to air-training ranges. Saves tax dollars, which is a goal Crapo and Risch can’t seem to grasp, despite their posturing about the federal budget. Boise’s argument is only political, not functional. So Yeah, let’s do the kind of noise study people can understand: fly the F35s over the neighborhoods. Including, over the mayor’s neighborhood.

  10. Heather Rodman
    Dec 7, 2016, 8:08 pm

    It’s ridiculous that this is even having to be debated- these planes are not suitable for use in residential areas, period! Do a couple of demonstrations- let people REALLY understand what the purported “sound of freedom” really sounds like. Hearts and minds will change in a biiiiig hurry. >:o(

  11. Jake Armstrong
    Dec 7, 2016, 8:17 pm

    Either pick Mountain Home for the Air Force or move the Airport further South. The Airport noise is already too high in the Hillcrest Area.

  12. If you really want to create hovac ask the people in charge to do an environmental justice analysis…breaking down the assessed impacts to find out if there is a disproportionate impact (i.e. noise and economic impacts) on low income, minority and other similar types of populations in the vicinity of the where the F-35 jets are to be stationed.

    Ask them if they considered other alternatives for comparison purposes including an air force base just 35 liner miles away.

    Just some food for thought anyways.

  13. Fran Ciarlo
    Dec 7, 2016, 10:49 pm

    To have F35’s in an urban setting is the height of stupidity. Noise pollution, cognitive impairment in young children because of the noise levels, sleep disruption on a regular basis. These planes need to be in a rural setting and Mt. Home Air Force Base is that setting. This is wrong on so many levels that the city of Boise and the airport administration should be deeply ashamed of themselves. Be honest with us.

  14. Steve Dunlap
    Dec 8, 2016, 5:57 am

    For over a year the F-35 has been promoted to Boise in meetings, proposals, studies, presentations and press releases all intended to assure us that any minor inconvenience due to operational sound levels will be more than offset by the economic benefit resulting from the mission. That effort has failed to convince hundreds of people whom still strongly oppose brining the F-35 to Boise. At this point any action other than a real-life demo can only be taken as evasion. DO THE DEMO!!!

  15. They said the public input will be part of environmental study and the final decision on basing F-35 in Boise.
    As far as I know, the public inputs are simply recorded AFTER the decision has been negotiated among the politicians.
    Boise and Idaho politicians (with their colorful names) should be ashamed of themselves, many times. Voters should ask them to leave their office.

  16. Carol Casler
    Dec 8, 2016, 7:56 am

    I add my support to the Guardian’s challenge for experiencing first hand what the actual sound would be with the the date publicized so that officials and citizens together witness it. It certainly would clarify what is being proposed and would lay down a basis for arguments. It is also essential that meetings be publicized between our elected officials and the air force representatives. The media and citizens need access to these meetings. We need transparency and sunshine on meetings and negotiations that so profoundly affect quality of life in our community.

  17. Thanks Guardian for working to inform the public on the impact the F-35’s will have on our community. It defies logic that the city, state, Air Force and national leaders are agreeable to increasing the noise foot print for our urban airport to accommodate these aircraft. Increasing the noise foot print results in our government (at tax payer expense) purchasing the homes determined uninhabitable! Anyone that has had a personal experience with F-35’s operating in their proximity understands the negative environmental impact.

    I think everyone can agree we need to avoid the issues Burington VT has and is experiencing.

  18. Jordan Morales
    Dec 8, 2016, 9:56 am

    As Democratic Party Precinct Committeeperson for Ada 1818 that has many residences in the flight path (and more being approved off Columbia Village in the future I’m sure), I would like this to happen as well. Perhaps this is something our legislative district central committee and legislators need to get involved in as well. Thoughts are spinning. Thank you for the continued coverage of this issue.

  19. Maybe it is time for a voter initiative to bypass the power structure.

    Boise Municipal Code, Chaper 1-22 and Idaho Code 50-501 provide for City Initiatives upon signatures of 20% of votes cast in last General Election in the city.

    If that is interpreted as the last General Municipal Election in 2015, it would require 6,600 signatures.

  20. the sounds of the F-35 is less than the sound of cash register clings in the ears of the Boise Mayor and City Council.

    All for supporting the military, Mountain home is a great location, welcome the F-35 to Idaho, in Mt Home. If the mayor is so convinced Mountain Home sucks so bad no F-35 worker will want to live there, then he should give Mountain home some free advice on how to be the second most livable city in America.

  21. On behalf of the City leaders, please Mr. Guardian stop offering such practical ideas that make it harder for us to do what we want. There is no room in Boise for citizen common sense, please just trust us, we know what is best for the citizens, who to us we care for and view them as our children, simple and innocent minds, needing guidance and direction in life.

  22. Government is a criminal organization, at all levels, from city councils, clear up to the top of the Federal Government. The corporate media news (the real fake news) is their tool to manufacture consent among the majority.
    If the good folks of Boise don’t make an end run around this collaborative criminal organization, you will surely be tormented day and night by F35 jets.
    I’d suggest a permanent protest on the overpass on Vista that crosses i84. Hang banners over each side and hold signs saying NO F35’s! NO F15’s!
    You need to make your voices heard, and these carefully orchestrated “meetings” and the incurious corporate media are not going to help you, or change anything.

  23. Oooor,
    Someone could take recording equipment to nearby Hill AFB and record their current jets taking off, flying around and landing.

    A little bit of social media and you get what you are asking for.

    Much easier and MUCH more likely to happen.

  24. I’ve sat through a couple presentations by the city on this and they blatantly lied.

    I moved into the area expecting passenger jets and A10s. No problem. The rare F15/F16 causes pain and suffering but it didn’t happen often. Now the F35 is coming into a large city despite having double the noise pollution of an F15 and flying FAR more frequently. Yet Mountain Home – a couple minutes flight away and designed for fighter jets – is ignored.

    This is beyond stupid.

    I’m very much a patriot. I served. But this doesn’t protect us. It doesn’t help anyone except for politicians and the rich – who won’t live in the affected area. This is worse than Flint Michigan – at least they can solve their issue with a water filter. Where’s our sound filter?

  25. Idaho Tater
    Dec 8, 2016, 3:47 pm

    I attended the recent meeting and witnessed the obvious frustration of Rebecca Hupp when questioned about the noise study. It seems clear that the airport has no interest in addressing the findings regarding the potential noise impact of the F-35. It is interesting that they now want to have two separate meetings – one on December 14 and the other on January 27 – to discuss increased air traffic at one and noise levels at the second one. Seems like the two are one in the same to me. And now that there is a very distinct possibility that the F-35 will come to Boise, the airport can’t continue to deny knowledge of the Air Force’s plan. I will be at the December 14 meeting and I do intend on bringing up the noise issue whether they like it or not.

  26. I have to say it.

    Boo Fracken Hoo.

    Nasty comments this time around. Truthfullness, you are on a roll. Bad government, bad bad government.

  27. Idaho Tater: What is the location and time of the meeting you refer to on Dec. 14th?

  28. Yossarian_22
    Dec 9, 2016, 10:39 am

    I fully support the Guardian’s request to demonstrate the noise impact of the F-35. Any demonstration should include standard downwind-base-final landing approach protocols for BOTH runways (10 Left and 10 Right & 28 Left and 28 Right = compass designations of both runways). We need to hear this thing OVER homes on the northern landing approaches. The southern approach will be less noisy, but let’s hear it anyway. We also need to hear it during a “unlimited takeoff” where occasionally, pilots are allowed to indulge themselves in a steep angle takeoff with high throttle position that we sometimes hear. I have witnessed F-15s and F-16s ascend in near vertical attitudes, with massive noise emissions that thunder over the entire Bench and southern regions. And, we should especially demand that it fly at about 500-1000 feet over the Northend so they can hear it, too.

    It’s only fair.

  29. Mtn Home is the best place of the F 35’s. Our Business is on curtis. Imagine for a moment getting a massage and then you hear this loud noise and feel the buildings shake.Yes, here on Curtis those planes disrupt our business. Will the City/Guard et al pay us to move for infringing on our right to have a normal business environment?

  30. Thanks for speaking up David and kudos to everyone else on this thread for your thoughtful comments. A demonstration is an excellent idea and so is pushing this project to Mtn. Home. They would love it. As someone who lives “on the other side of the tracks” I can tell you we already hear the airport every morning, starting at about 5 am. And the jets at Gowen, we hear those too. The silence when flights were grounded after 9-11 only underscored how much noise and white noise the airport emits on a regular basis. I have to ask. How organized is the opposition. Where is the Vista neighborhood association? Have you considered partnering with the Mtn. Home chamber and pushing the relocation issue? If you really aren’t being heard, have you considered taking hiz honor to task via letters in the Statesman, or better yet, drag his sorry butt into court?

  31. David DeHaas – The unaccounted for effects of ones actions on others is called “externalities”. If externalities were accounted for, we would still be living on an unspoiled planet in small clans, working only 4 hours per day to live. Screwing others over for some personal benefit is what “progress” is all about.

  32. Arnie Borreson
    Apr 28, 2017, 7:00 am

    Mountain home Airforce base should be the first on the list as the possible location for the F35 wing.
    The existing airforce base already is in an area that will have minimum impact to the civilian population and property. The airspace available does not require flying over denser populated areas. The noise impacts are minimum due also to the lower population density. The area south of Mountain home is one of the largest unpopulated areas in the entire united states. The impact to Boise will be minimal since it will just be shifted to another Idaho city which will still have economic impact to the city of Boise. There is just no valid reason that this wing should not be located at Mountain Home AFB and many reasons it should not be located at the Boise airport. Let keep military activity away from civilian activities. The only case in post for Boise would be an economic one based strictly upon greed.

Get the Guardian by email

Enter your email address: