The airspace over the Treasure Valley is about to get a little crowed this week.  No, were not announcing a new nonstop from the Boise Airport.  The Idaho Air National Guard’s 124th Fighter Wing will host 11 F-18s from the U.S. Navy’s Carrier Air Wing Three, April 22-30. 

The visiting aircraft, are from the Naval Air Station in Oceana, Virginia.  They'll arrive Monday to train with A-10s from the 124th Fighter Wing’s 190th Fighter Squadron beginning Tuesday.   The "air battle" will happen during day and night hours, till 10pm.

Gowen Field has long been a national attraction for military exercises attracting units from all over the world.  Participants walk away praising the expertise of the Idaho National Guard.  The more Gowen Field is used for these activities, the better its chances are to continue to be open for the military.  Gowen Field is one of the largest employers in the Treasure Valley.

To maintain a proper military, similar to a sports team, one has to practice.  So how do you practice air combat?

“In order to maintain combat readiness, it is critical that we train with units from other services that operate different fighter aircraft,” said Col. Tim Donnellan, commander of the 124th Fighter Wing. “This type of training is invaluable in order to establish interoperability before we partner in combat.”

The two units are training together to increase combat proficiency in close air support and air missions. Approximately eight F-18s and six A-10s will fly twice per day: once in late afternoon and once in the evening.  Upon departing Gowen Field, the aircraft will fly to the military operating areas south of Boise typically used by the Idaho Air National Guard and units based at Mountain Home Air Force Base.

The Idaho Air National Guard is sensitive to the impact its training has on the Treasure Valley.  During these exercises, it could get loud.

“Whenever we host aircraft at Gowen Field, a major concern is the potential impact on our community,” Donnellan added. “We always anticipate a flight line louder than normal anytime we host additional aircraft, but we owe it to our neighbors to mitigate those impacts as much as possible.  Anyone with concerns is encouraged to call us so we can address them directly.”

Here's the number if you have an issue: 208-422-5252.

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