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Great Seal of the State of Idaho

NEWS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 21, 2017

CONTACT:
Governor's Office - Jon Hanian (208) 334-2100
Mayor's Office - Mike Journee (208) 972-8527
Idaho National Guard - Maj. Chris Borders (208) 422-5268

 

 

 

 

GOWEN FIELD SELECTED AS “REASONABLE ALTERNATIVE” SITE FOR F-35 CONSIDERATION

(BOISE) – The U.S. Air Force has selected the Idaho Air National Guard’s Gowen Field in Boise as one of three “reasonable alternative” sites for the future basing of F-35A Lightning II fighter aircraft.

The announcement came today from Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson. 

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter, Boise Mayor David Bieter and Brigadier General Michael J. Garshak – Idaho’s adjutant general – said they were pleased that Gowen Field would remain under consideration to receive an F-35 mission.  However, Gowen Field is not among the top two contenders.

Truax Field in Wisconsin and Dannelly Field in Alabama were selected as preferred alternatives. Along with Gowen Field, the Air Force said Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Michigan and Jacksonville Air Guard Station in Florida would be reasonable alternatives for F-35 basing.

“Although we are disappointed that Gowen Field will not receive primary consideration as a site for the F-35 mission, as a reasonable alternative we will undergo the same evaluations as the four other primary and alterative locations,” Governor Otter said.  “We are confident that through this process, Gowen Field will be recognized as a logical choice to receive these state-of-the-art aircraft.”

For nearly a year, Gowen Field has been under consideration to receive the newest and most advanced fighters in the world. The Idaho National Guard now will prepare for the next step – an environmental impact assessment. 

All five sites will undergo an Environmental Impact Statement process, which involves gathering and analyzing environmental-related data. The federal process governed by National Environmental Policy Act is exhaustive, transparent, and includes public input.

The Air Force and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will work together, through an impartial third party, to conduct the environmental study, which includes public scoping meetings.  These meetings provide opportunities for the community to take part in the process by expressing support for or concerns about an F-35 mission at Gowen Field.

So far no dates have been established for public scoping meetings. 

As a reasonable alternative, Gowen Field remains a viable option should the Air Force determine through the environmental analysis that one of the primary candidates is unfit for the mission. 

“Gowen Field is a world-class facility that deserves a world-class flying mission,” said Mayor Bieter. “I’m certain that through the process to come it will become clear that the Idaho Air National Guard deserves a mission that will guarantee their place in our community far into the future, just as they have been for over 70 years.”

The Air Force plans to retire the A-10 “Warthog” fighter sometime in the future.  As its sole flying mission, more than 90 percent of the roughly 1,300 Idaho Air National Guard personnel are directly associated with A-10 operations at Gowen Field.  These roles include pilots, maintenance, logistics, munitions, medical and other support personnel.  Without a flying mission, many of these positions could be eliminated.

“We are especially appreciative of the support we have received from the community over the last year,” said Garshak, who commands the Idaho National Guard.  “From our neighbors to local business owners, from our local elected officials to the Governor’s office and our federal delegation, we thank our community for helping make Gowen Field a consideration to receive the F-35.”

“We’re fortunate to be in a community very supportive of the military,” said Boise Chamber of Commerce President Bill Connors.  “Public support is something the Air Force considers throughout the EIS process and support from the business community is something we have plenty of here in Boise."

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