Boise officials unable to meet with Air Guard general

Mayor still hopes to retain Air National Guard at Gowen Field.

jsowell@idahostatesman.comMarch 28, 2014 

Mayor Dave Bieter was not able to arrange a meeting with Lt. Gen. Stanley E. Clarke during this week’s local visit by the national director of the Idaho Air National Guard.

Clarke’s one-day visit Wednesday was so full it did not allow him time to visit with Bieter and other Boise officials. They had hoped to talk with him and convince him of the importance of keeping the Idaho Air National Guard at Gowen Field, where it has been headquartered since 1947.

The Pentagon has proposed moving the Air National Guard to Mountain Home Air Force Base as part of a $3.5 billion cost-cutting move. The Air Force plans to retire the Idaho Air Guard’s 22 A-10 Thunderbolt IIs, which are used to protect ground troops.

With the proposed changes, the Air Force would refocus the Idaho Air Guard mission on the F-15E, a fighter that can attack targets in the air and on the ground. The Mountain Home base has 45 F-15s.

City spokesman Adam Park said officials hope to meet with another high-ranking Air National Guard official who is scheduled to come to Idaho next month.

Any changes need to be approved by Congress as part of its budget process. That will take several months to work out.

John Sowell: 377-6423, Twitter: @IDS_Sowell

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