Mountain Home Police are investigating the death of a MHAFB airman, who was discovered in an off-base residence March 19.
Officials at the Air Base sent out a news release Wednesday night, but did not include many details surrounding the death, nor the identity of the deceased, pending notification of kin. The cause of death is still under investigation.
“Today we mourn the loss of a valued member of the Gunfighter and Air Force family,” wrote Col. Byron Anderson, 366th Fighter Wing vice commander. “Our deepest sympathy goes out to the family, friends and co-workers during this difficult and tragic time.”
Treasure Valley skies will be filled with a bit more thunder this coming week.
In something called a Gunfighter Flag military exercise, military aircraft from Great Britain will join the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Marine Corps Monday, March 10-Friday, March 14 and officials at Mountain Home Air Force Base are cautioning residents of Boise and Mountain Home that they'll be noticing an increase in aircraft from 1-4 p.m. and 6-9 p.m.
The exercise is designed to test coalition forces during multiple daily launches, with particular focus on preparing terminal attack controller teams for upcoming deployments, while providing proficiency training for air crews.
"We train combat-ready Airmen to deploy anywhere at any time and provide precision air power to our joint and coalition partners," said Col. Byron Anderson, 366th Fighter Wing vice commander.
Residents should notice quite a bit more military aircraft over the Treasure Valley in the coming weeks. Beginning today, a multinational combined-joint exercise, dubbed Mountain Roundup 2013, gets underway and will continue through Saturday, Oct. 19.
More than 100 visiting aircraft have already arrived at Mountain Home Air Force Base as more than 300 Germans and Canadians join an equal number of U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, Army and Air Force to participate in ground operations, close-air support, convoy operations, basic fighter maneuvers and air-to-air training.
In addition to the F-15E and F-15SG Strike Eagles assigned here, multiple EA-18G Growlers, F-15C Eagles, GR1 and GR4 Tornados, F-16 Falcons, A-10 Warthogs, F-18 Hornets, AV-8B Harriers, KC-135 Stratotankers, KC-130 Hercules, B-1B Lancers, CH-60 and CH-64 Blackhawks, and other NATO-, German- and U.S.-support aircraft will be participating.
“Inexperienced aircrews profit from simply being airborne with 80 to 100 other aircraft; from the extremely busy radios to the complex plans addressing airspace and target area conflicts with other aircraft," said U.S. Air Force Maj. Tapan Sen, 366th Figure Wing Weapons and Tactics Flight commander. “Virtually any contingency operation involving the U.S. Air Force will also involve joint partners and, in all probability, contain coalition partners,” he said.
The next domino to fall in the U.S. government sequester will hit Mountain Home Air Force Base next week as its entire civilian workforce will become victim to a 20 percent furlough.
MHAFB officials announced July 2 that the cutbacks were confirmed by the Pentagon, impacting nearly 400 civilian employees at the base. Most of the workforce will see four day work weeks and a 20 percent pay cut until the end of the U.S. government's fiscal year Monday, Sept. 30.
In April, the sequester began limiting air exercises of Mountain Home's 391st Fighter Squadron.
"We never wanted this to happen, and we hope Congress will be able to release more funds to end furloughs as soon as possible," said Col. Bryan Anderson, 366th Fighter Wing vice commander. "Our civilians are absolutely essential to Mountain Home Air Force Base."
The Treasure Valley Y is looking to expand into the Mountain Home area.
This morning's Mountain Home News reports that the Y and Western Elmore County Recreation District are set to kick off a capital campaign to build a community recreation center in Mountain Home. The campaign is looking to raise more than $500,000.
In May, the Mountain Home City Council approved plans to annex 20 acres of land into the city, earmarked for the rec center.
Located on South 18th East Street across from Mountain Home Junior High School, the property was purchased several years ago while the WECRD pursued plans to build a rec center.
Some call it "the sound of freedom." Others, who are not thrilled with the sound of jet fighters over the Treasure Valley, have a few other names for the noise.
Officials at Mountain Home Air Force Base have confirmed that residents may notice more jet noise over southwest Idaho today. Several U.S. Marine Corps FA-18 Hornets will conduct military exercises between Mountain Home and Boise through late afternoon. The so-called "hornet squadron" hails from the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station in Miramar, Calif.
Even though Mountain Home Air Force Base has presumably lost its opportunity to house the U.S. Air Force's F-35 Operational Basing, the military still needs to complete its formal environmental impact statement on MHAFB, as well as four other sites. The Air Force formally filed a draft EIS today.
A spokeswoman for the Air Force said that Hill Air Force Base in Utah and the Burlington Air Guard Station in Vermont were the military's top choices for housing the F-35 Lighting II squadron. In addition to Mountain Home, bases in Florida and South Carolina had been on the short list of prospective sites.
The F-35A is the military's fifth-generation fighter aircraft designed with stealth maneuverability. According to ProPublica, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program has cost the U.S. government $400 billion to date, and is estimated to run more than $1 trillion to develop, buy and support nearly 2,500 aircraft through 2050.