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Idaho Air National Guard future unclear

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Photo: Video by IdahoOnYourSide.com

Idaho Air National Guard future unclear

By Jake Melder. CREATED Mar 26, 2014

In the proposal, the Air Force wants to decommission their fleet of A-10 planes. The Idaho Air National Guard has 22 of them.

"These aircraft have deployed to Iraq, they've deployed to Afghanistan,” said Col. Tim Marsano, the public affairs officer for the Idaho Air National Guard. “They stand ready to deploy anywhere in the world, should the Pentagon call on us to do that."

The Air Force says decommissioning their A-10 fleet would save $3.5 billion. But the plan isn't sitting well with the Air Guard.

"We're not sure we'd be able to get the high quality recruits that would sustain our mission into the future if we were to move to a place that doesn't have as many people," Marsano said.

Air National Guard Operations employ more than a thousand people. Boise City leaders don't want to see those jobs disappear.

"What we'd like to see from the Air Force is the cost-business case analysis for why it makes sense for them to propose a co-location in Mountain Home," said city spokesman Adam Park.

Congress now has the final decision on what to do with the budget sent to them by the President. Until then, the future of the air base is cloudy.

"The sequester and budget cuts have to be felt somewhere and the Air Force feels that the best way to do that is by divesting themselves of this aircraft," Marsano said.

Regardless of Gowen Field's fate, Boise leaders say there will be no hard feelings. "It's important to us that the base at Mountain Home succeeds also,” Park said. “We'd like to see both succeed in one way or another. We just want to be able to work together to find a solution to do that."

The future of Gowen Field is up in the air. Congress could pass the budget sent to them, or they could adopt their own budget that could look drastically different.