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Eye On Boise

If Boise gets F-35s, would ‘guarantee an Air Guard presence for next 40 years’

Brigadier General Gary Sayler of the Idaho Military Division tells lawmakers Thursday that if Boise gets assigned as a new training base for F-35 Strike Fighters, the Idaho Air National Guard presence in southern Idaho will be guaranteed for the next 40 years and its payroll will double. There also would be significant military construction and resulting economic impact. (Betsy Russell)
Brigadier General Gary Sayler of the Idaho Military Division tells lawmakers Thursday that if Boise gets assigned as a new training base for F-35 Strike Fighters, the Idaho Air National Guard presence in southern Idaho will be guaranteed for the next 40 years and its payroll will double. There also would be significant military construction and resulting economic impact. (Betsy Russell)

Idaho's military division is having its budget hearing before JFAC, and Brigadier General Gary Sayler said the possible assignment of three F-35 Strike Fighter squadrons to Boise as their training base would effectively double the size of the Idaho Air National Guard "and guarantee an Air Guard presence in Boise for the next 40 years." The air guard's payroll would double. "Right now there's really no way for us to calculate the economic impact, but we think it would be significant for southern Idaho," Sayler said. If Boise is selected for the F-35s, they could start arriving in 2013.

Sayler also had a piece of news for lawmakers about the scheduled September 2010 deployment overseas of the 116th Heavy Brigade Combat Team: Though, like the last huge deployment of the 116th BCT to Iraq, this one will involve large numbers of soldiers from all over the state, Sayler said he's been informed that this deployment, unlike the last one, "will not exceed 12 months in total duration." The team also is scheduled to receive full modernized digital equipment, he said.



Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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