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Mountain Home Air Force Base proposes urban training

Military air and ground crews may be conducting training in nine different cities across the state, where tall buildings and traffic present challenges.

BOISE - F-15's roaring over Boise, Twin Falls and seven other southern Idaho cities. It could soon be a reality if the Mountain Home Air Force Base proposal for urban training is approved.

"The training we are able to accomplish stateside is extremely valuable to the aircrew," says Major Adam Mattheis, U.S. Air Force.

The proposed training is part of the "CAS Initiative," where aircrews drill in the dynamic nature of a city versus an open desert.

"Large buildings that present an urban canyon where it’s hard to locate targets within the street, surrounded by tall buildings, presents unique challenges that we need to be proficient at before we deal with it in combat," says Mattheis.

The plan entails having military personnel dressed in civilian clothing blend in with the rest of the population, all while driving plain cars and communicating with F-15's flying between 1.5 and 2.5 miles above the ground.

"So it’s fairly high up, well above what you would normally see if you look up on any given day and see a commercial plane flying around the local area," says Mattheis.

"People always have a concern about noise, there could be a concern about possible low flights, air emissions," says Sheri Robertson, U.S. Air Force.

Which is why the Air Force is holding scoping meetings around the state to answer questions and address concerns from the public.

One such meeting happened Thursday afternoon.

"I feel better about it after what I have heard here today about the level the height, there is still more I want to hear," says Karen Newton of Boise.

"We are a neighbor to the community and we do want to know what the citizens' concerns are," adds Robertson.

After the scoping meetings are complete, an environmental impact study will be conducted to assess potential risks.

If all is approved, training could start in a couple of months.

Remaining meetings are:

April 13, 4-6 p.m. -- Boise Main Library, Marion Bingham Room, 715 S. Capitol Blvd, Boise, ID 83702

April 16, 5-7 p.m. -- The American Legion (VFW Post 26), 515 E 2nd S St, Mountain Home, ID 83647

Public comments can be provided by email to the Public Affairs office at 366FW.PA.Public.Affairs@us.af.mil or by phone at Public Affairs office at (208) 828-6800.