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:
GOWEN FIELD IN BOISE AMONG FIVE FINALISTS FOR F-35 MISSION, IDAHO DELEGATION WELCOMES NEWS
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.”
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