I support #GowenStrong, and I am urging our community to join me.
The Citizen Airmen and women of the 124th Fighter Wing of the Idaho Air National Guard at Gowen Field are being considered as an Air National Guard base location for the F-35. As one of five finalists, Gowen Field is a smart decision as a preferred location — for the military, our economy, and our neighbors, friends, and family who serve in the Idaho National Guard.
If selected, the Idaho Air National Guard could expect to see approximately 18 to 24 F-35s that would replace the same number of A-10s currently stationed at Gowen Field. If selected, aircraft would begin to arrive in Boise in 2021 and 2022.
This is critical in keeping Gowen Field relevant and energized. We support this because we have guard members who depend on Gowen Field in our community. As well, the city has employees who are guard members. These are citizen-airmen and women with full-time jobs and families in our communities. Gowen Field’s location allows them to train before and after the full time work throughout the month and on weekends. This ensures they meet requirements and are able to proficiently perform their duties in order to deploy at a moment’s notice.
You may not realize the economic impact of Gowen Field as well. The Idaho National Guard is Idaho’s fourth largest employer at 5,255 employees — behind only St. Luke’s, Walmart, and Micron — and the 1,300 full- and part-time airmen in the Idaho Air National Guard are a significant component of the overall Guard operation. The Idaho Air National Guard is responsible for over 2,800 direct, indirect and induced employees across the state — representing over $136 million annual total labor income (direct, indirect, induced) and over $155 million annual total economic impact (direct, indirect, induced).
If Gowen Field is selected for the F-35 mission, it will bring even more civilian jobs and opportunities to our state. According to the Utah Defense Alliance, it didn’t take long after Ogden was selected as a base for Lockheed Martin to open up shop nearby. This kind of potential economic impact would be huge for the Valley and will last for decades.
I stand along with my fellow mayors in the area, and before you, in demonstrating my public support because it is imperative in the selection criteria to see strong support of our base! If you would like to show your support, you can write a letter to one of our local newspapers, contact our congressional delegation, or sign up to show your support. You can learn more about all of these options by visiting gowenstrong.com.
The time is now to show we are #GowenStrong. Join me in not only supporting a critical piece of our economy, but also the families in our communities. I support them and am honored to be part of our nation’s effort in pursing freedoms.