By Journal Staff
As Col. Tim Marsano drives around the expanse of Gowen Field southeast of the Boise Airport, there is a sense of pride that becomes obvious.
“I call this my campus,” the Idaho National Guard public affairs officer said.
The history of Gowen Field dates back to the 1920s when Charles Lindbergh landed his Spirit of St. Louis in Boise back in 1927. But the existing base was created during World War II when it became a training center for B-17 and B-24 heavy bombers.
Now it’s home to the Idaho Air National Guard, Army National Guard and reserve units of the Army, Navy, and Marines. The Idaho Army National Guard’s presence at Gowen Field consists of armor, helicopter, and other training units.
About 570 acres of land are strictly for military use and another 1,500 acres near the airport is under a joint-use agreement between the city of Boise and the military.
The facility also hosts the Orchard Combat Training Center. And it’s home to the 124th Fighter Wing of the Idaho Air National Guard, which has 22 A-10 Thunderbolt II fighter jets. Crews participate in constant training in the event they are needed to bolster military efforts overseas.
Helicopters maintained by the Army National Guard include Black Hawks and Apache Longbows, and are part of the First Battalion-183rd Aviation Regiment.
The missions of the National Guard are threefold. The wartime mission is to destroy enemy armored, mechanized and other massed forces through the use of aerial firepower. The state mission is to provide units and personnel trained and equipped for immediate deployment in support of natural disasters and civil disturbances within Idaho. The community support mission is to provide support of community events and activities.
The stated mission of Gowen Field is: “Underpin Readiness of the Force by serving as a training center and a support site for power projection missions, and becoming the premier training center and force projection site of choice for America’s Defense Forces.”