BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has hinted at reducing at least five tactical aircraft squadrons. Lawmakers in Idaho are worried Mountain Home and Gowen Field may be on that list. The Governor, Senator Crapo, Senator Risch, congressman Labrador and Simpson sent out a letter inviting the Air Force Chief of Staff to come visit bases here in Idaho.
According to reports the Air Force eliminated two A10 Squadrons last year and the planes in Boise have been flying for more than 30 years. Idaho lawmakers are planning for the future by pushing the Air Force to bring in F15E Strike Eagles to Gowen Field or better yet, a brand new F35 fighter squadron.
Gowen Field says of the 1400 personnel who work on the base, 1000 that work with flight operations would be affected by any possible cuts. But the base says their facilities are upgraded and have recently passed inspections. They can easily transition to a newer fighter with the available resources in place. Local flight instructor William Foote says he welcomes something like the F35 and having more planes in the air. " That would be very impressive to have a state of the art military platform like that, we would certainly be the envy of a lot of airports," Foote said.
Gowen Field says that even though defense cuts are looming in Congress, the government renewed a 50 year lease on the base.