Mountain Home Air Force Base

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

Congress ordered big savings in defense spending. Now, Congress is moving to block those savings. What follows is a classic story of how federal budgeting works.

MONTAGNE: The Pentagon faces budget restraints. Lawmakers favor cuts in general, but objected when the cuts became specific. When the Defense Department said it doesn't need some old weapons, lawmakers disagreed.

Military officials say the London-based firm Balfour Beatty Communities will take over housing management at the Mountain Home Air Force base.

The Idaho Statesman reports Balfour Beatty already operates more than 44,000 military homes in 23 states and Washington, D.C. The company will begin managing 844 single-family houses and duplexes and 680 dormitory rooms at the Idaho base on Thursday.

A squadron of U.S. Air Force F-15 fighters in southern Idaho that had been grounded by federal budget cuts since April is finally resuming flying operations.

The 391st Fighter Squadron at Mountain Home Air Force Base reinvigorated operations Wednesday after the Air Force Council approved a plan to shift millions of dollars.

This means pilots and weapon systems officers stationed at the desert base south of Mountain Home will return to the skies, including nearby training and bombing ranges where jets practice their missions.

Official U.S. Air Force

Furloughs have begun at Mountain Home Air Force base. Friday is the first day many civilian workers had to stay home after across-the-board budget cuts – known as the sequester – take effect.

Chief Master Sergeant Alex del Valle says the furloughs are already changing base operations. He says the civilian airmen work alongside the military airmen, and their support is essential.

Official U.S. Air Force

More than 70 airmen and 30 planes will remain on the ground through the fall at Mountain Home Air Force Base.  That's because of federal budget cuts, known as the sequester.  

Colonel Chris Short commands the 366th Fighter Wing.  His wing includes the 391st Squadron, known as the Bold Tigers.  They’re a flying combat unit.  “Typically they fly every day during a work week, we give them a certain number of hours during a month, to maintain their combat readiness, and what we’ve done is by standing them down, they will not fly at all.” 

Official U.S. Air Force

The federal budget cuts, known as sequestration, have hit Mountain Home Air Force Base.  Officials announced today that one of their fighter squadrons will curtail flying operations.

The 391st Squadron, known as the Bold Tigers, stopped flying their planes yesterday.  The stand down will remain in effect through the end of the fiscal year in September. 

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Mountain Home, southeast of Boise is a microcosm of a military town.  Many of the 14,500 people who live there are connected to Mountain Home Air Force Base.  Four-thousand military serve there and some of them come to Grinde's Diner in Mountain Home to eat and talk politics.

The windows at Grinde’s are covered in patriotic paintings like the statue of liberty, a bald eagle and the liberty bell.