Idaho’s congressional delegation, in a joint news release yesterday afternoon, welcomed the announcement that Gowen Field in Boise is among five finalists for an F-35 mission that could make Boise the home of a new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter squadron, the Air Force’s next-generation fighter plane. Sen. Jim Risch said he was “pleased,” Rep. Mike Simpson said he was “delighted,” and Rep. Raul Labrador said he was “thrilled.” Sen. Mike Crapo 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.”
Not mentioned in the joint news release: Concerns from hundreds of nearby residents about noise, along with questions about why the squadron couldn’t be based at Mountain Home Air Force Base, 30 miles to the southeast, instead of in the state’s most densely populated city. David Frazier’s Boise Guardian has a report on this today, calling the announcement “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.” His challenge: “Let us hear the damned airplane!” You can read his full post here.