MOUNTAIN HOME, Idaho -- Under financial pressure, Congress has asked the United States Air Force to make budget cuts that could impact the way military programs operate in Idaho.
The proposed cuts include eliminating the Idaho National Air Guard A-10 Thunderbolt II fighter jet program in Boise, and moving the air guard base from Gowen Field to Mountain Home Air Force Base.
It's a possible move that many in Mountain Home are struggling to analyze and understand.
Not only from an economic standpoint, but certainly we've become friends with these people out there, our friends, our neighbors, it's critically important to our community, no question about it, said Mountain Home Mayor, Tom Rist.
Rist recognizes how important Mountain Home Air Force Base is to his city, but also how important Gowen Field and Idaho Air National Guard are to Boise.
We heard things about this, I would say, just bits and pieces of this over the past couple of months, said Rist. It kind of solidified in probably the past two weeks and mainly, after the budget came out is when it actually came to the forefront that this could be a possibility of happening.
Rist said people in town are happy about the possibility, and they would welcome the guard to Mountain home. However, Rist questions how big the impact would really be.
We have a number of people from Mountain Home that commute to Boise already, he said. Conversely we have a number of people that commute from Boise to the air base, and so saying that every single person is going to have to move down here tomorrow, is just not accurate.
Rist does not think there will be a final decision on any changes in the near term.
We're not trying to cause any type of a turf war here because I don't know where this is going to shake out. I really and truly don't, said Rist. I've talked to number of people, including our congressional delegation, and everybody's struggling with this.
The City of Boise said, as proposed, Gowen Field would be the only A-10 base in the country that's not receiving a new mission, should the A-10 be retired.