Even though we all thought the F-35 issue in Boise had been grounded, Team Dave and the wing nuts at Mountain Home were still manipulating public opinion. We didn’t see any news releases about the planned and then aborted junket to Florida at the expense of taxpayers (local and federal).
Katie Fite of Wild Lands Defense and the Stop Urban War Idaho coalition offers up an interesting addendum to the F-35 debate.
A Public Records request shows Boise Mayor Dave Bieter received an invitation for a military junket to Tyndall airbase in Florida in October. Mountain Home airbase Commander Joe “Solo” Kunkel, sent the invite for a Civic Leader tour, describing the trip as “an opportunity to further develop our relationship”.
Records show the Mayor and Airport Manager Rebecca Hupp were already tied up with a scheduled “critical” meeting with developers at the time of the junket. But the City persevered. Paperwork was filled out, and staffers Amber Pence and Sam Dotters-Katz were on deck for the trip. They were scheduled to assemble at Mountain Home AFB, and receive a “mission brief” from Kunkel before everyone embarked on a military plane to Florida. Kunkel had been stationed at Tyndall prior to his recent arrival in Mountain Home in 2017.
The trip drew near. The Air Force’s Trace Giles effused: “Let the countdown begin. We’re less than five days until we depart”.
Hurricane Michael, bearing down on the Florida panhandle, had other ideas. The hurricane leveled the Airbase where F-22s were stationed. The Pentagon just announced plans to rebuild it tailor-made for three squadrons of F-35s.
It seems the winds of fate blew away the chance for Team Dave to lobby Air Force brass, and continue trying to foist a noisy squadron of F-35 fighter jets on the citizens of Boise – even after the USAF last spring declined to station them here.
Incidentally, the Florida excursion was scheduled during the public comment period for the “Close Air Support” Urban War Range that Mountain Home airbase sought to impose on Boise and other cities across southern Idaho. That unprecedented air and ground operation proposal was finalized in November.
Just this week, folks in Boise received a mailer from the military saying the F-35 Draft EIS would be issued in late Feb. or March. Since the project is still in the Scoping period, the public can continue to submit comments on a Noisy Boise being Unlivable at http://www.angf35eis.com .
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