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No F-35s over Boise, as Air Force drops city from ‘alternate’ consideration

A long push for stationing a fleet of F-35A jets at Gowen Field, is over.

The US Air Force issued its final report, and said the Boise area won’t qualify for the mission. The USAF initially put Boise on its list of alternates. The administration of former Gov. Butch Otter and former Boise Mayor Dave Bieter pushed hard for the mission, but ultimately the USAF decided other sites made more sense.

Current Boise Mayor Lauren McLean came out against basing the jets during the 2019 campaign against Bieter. She cited the environmental impact study that said 272 homes would be “unsuitable for living” if the F-35As came to Boise.

“I am fully supportive of and deeply grateful for the important work the members of the United States Military do every day to serve and protect our country,” McLean said in a statement. “However, I remain firm in my commitment to not invest tax dollars in pushing for a new mission at Gowen Field that may have a negative environmental impact on our residents.”

At the time, Bieter and Otter officials stressed they wanted the F-35 mission for Idaho based on its economic impact, and to keep Gowen Field viable in the long term.

McLean said Gowen’s future, for the next decade or so, remains strong.

“Currently, there is an active A-10 mission for the Idaho Air National Guard at Gowen Field,” McLean said. “With the recent wing replacement on the A-10 aircrafts, reports indicate that the current mission is expected to continue through 2030.”

During the public campaign for the F-35, many residents expressed concern about the noise impact.

Sites in Wisconsin and Alabama are slated to get the mission.

Don Day - BoiseDev editor
Don is the founder and publisher of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow. Contact him at [email protected].

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