Guest Opinions

Boise has had supersonic jets for 32 years without a problem

Bob Kustra’s Sept. 23 Guest Opinion (“Boise may be Booming, but it does not need boom from F-35 supersonic jets”) speaks in riddles. Kustra has his facts wrong: For 32 years, Idaho Air Guard operated supersonic aircraft from Boise but never boomed our city!

The Idaho Air National Guard has operated from the Boise airport since 1946. Kustra continues to refer to “supersonic” aircraft as if such would become a problem. Not so, Bob. Beginning in 1964, we flew the F-102A supersonic interceptor, and from 1975 through 1996 the supersonic F-4 fighter aircraft. I flew both of these aircraft at Boise and also held leadership and command positions. So, please, Bob, allow me to be your professor and educate you and the Statesman’s readers!

Our operations involving these supersonic aircraft required our pilots to adhere to “noise abatement” procedures during departures from and approaches to the airport. The rare supersonic flights Idaho Air National Guard conducted always occurred more than one hundred miles away, and only in designated supersonic flight areas. Booms from those flights never reached Boise. I know that any commander of a future Idaho Air National Guard F-35 squadron will enforce similar noise-restricting procedures, including limiting takeoffs with afterburner power.

Here is another fact Kustra hasn’t considered. Our Idaho Air National Guard has long served our nation’s defense demands, historically enjoying strong community support. Today’s Idaho Air National Guard is part of that tradition, with its 190th Fighter Squadron recently serving in Middle East operations. I believe our community should continue to support the national defense. The Idaho Air National Guard has historically operated at Boise’s airport, and its nearby citizens recognize that airport sounds are just part of our community’s contribution to a strong nation. Kustra throws out the term “intolerable noise,” yet our citizens lived with “supersonic jet” sounds for 32 years!

Everyone is rightfully concerned with their immediate surroundings, often with a NIMBY mindset — Not In My Back Yard. But remember, our country is a beacon to the world — our values respected, our system of governance emulated and our armed actions have benefited and saved other nations. Aircraft sound is merely a part of our national defense, a paying of our patriotic dues. This is Boise’s tradition of service.

I invite Bob Kustra to read my 2009 book, “First Class or Not at All,” which describes the early-period history of the Idaho Air National Guard. Certainly he will then understand Boise’s patriotic tradition.

William C. “Bill” Miller, of Boise, served 38 years in the Idaho Air National Guard, retiring in 1996 as a colonel.
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