Idaho Air Guard Facing Major Changes
BOISE, Idaho (KTVB) -- The final decision hasn’t come down yet, but officials at Boise’s Gowen Field are bracing for a change that could cost the area scores of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding.
Military restructuring and budget cuts threaten to yank aircraft from Boise’s Gowen Field and shift the Idaho Air National Guard to Mountain Home. The change could effectively shutter most of the base’s operations by stripping away the fleet of A-10 fighter jets as well as the Army National Guard's Apache helicopters. That would spell the end of nearly $300 million in government funding and 1,400 jobs.
An additional 545 airmen would be required to commute to Mountain Home. That’s a bitter pill to swallow for many, including Maj. Gen. Gary Sayler, commander of the Air National Guard and a member of Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s cabinet. Built during WWII to train bomber pilots, including legend Jimmy Stewart, Gowen Field at one time held as many as 10,000 people. Barracks from that era are still standing. But the base’s storied past could fade if its aircraft take to different skies and the Air National Guard pulls up its roots.