Idaho Examiner - Sen. Larry Craig News Releases

Monday, June 20, 2005

IDAHO LEADERS DEFEND MT. HOME, GOWEN FIELD

Craig, Crapo, and Kempthorne testify before BRAC Commission in Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. – Idaho’s U.S. Senators and Governor testified today before the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission regarding Mountain Home Air Force Base (MHAFB) and Gowen Field.

The team took a divide-and-conquer approach to the presentation. Idaho Senator Larry Craig led off the 40-minute discussion by addressing military value, current and future growth, and the absence of environmental issues and encroachment at MHAFB. Craig stated, “Without question, our pilots benefit from ‘joint’ training. . . realigning Mountain Home to a single aircraft wing erodes critical in-place combat training synergies not found elsewhere. . . By making Mountain Home Air Force Base, and other bases around the country, a single flying unit, I fear we may be making decisions that will cost us more money in the long run to perform ‘joint’ training.
“Idaho is best situated for its current roles and missions and presents the nation with its greatest strategic opportunity to expand while maximizing joint and coalition training opportunities at the lowest and most convenient cost to U.S. taxpayers.”

Idaho Senator Mike Crapo followed, addressing community support, community sustainment, and the economic impact. “The community of Mountain Home provides an unprecedented level of support for the Mountain Home Air Force Base,” Crapo said. “We want to ensure changes to the base maintain stability for the local economy. Mountain Home Air Force Base is prepared to grow and continue to play an integral role in the future of the defense of the United States. The whole State of Idaho carries great pride in the Mountain Home Air Force Base and Gowen Field and wants to see them have a strong and prosperous future.”
Governor Kempthorne addressed the importance of the mission of Gowen Field. The U.S. House of Representatives was in session today, so Representatives Mike Simpson and C.L. “Butch” Otter were unable to attend.

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