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Mountain Home Air Force Base

Air Combat Command.png
Air Combat Command

Mtnhome-20Jun1988.jpg
USGS aerial photo as of June 20, 1988
(click on photo for high resolution)
IATA: MUOICAO: KMUOFAA: MUO
Summary
Airport type Military: Air Force Base
Owner U.S. Air Force
Operator Air Combat Command
Location Mountain Home, Idaho
Built 1942-43
In use 1943–45, 1948-50,
1951-present
Occupants 366th Fighter Wing
Elevation AMSL 2996 ft / 913 m
Coordinates 43°02′37″N 115°52′21″W / 43.04361°N 115.8725°W / 43.04361; -115.8725
Website mountainhome.af.mil
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
12/30 13,500 4115 PEM
Sources: official site[1] and FAA[2]
Mountain Home AFB is located in Idaho
Mountain Home AFB
Location of Mtn Home AFB

Mountain Home Air Force Base (IATA: MUOICAO: KMUOFAA LID: MUO) is a U.S. Air Force installation located in southwestern Idaho, United States. The base is in Elmore County, 12 miles (20 km) southwest of the city of Mountain Home, which is 40 miles (65 km) southeast of Boise, via Interstate 84.

The host unit at Mountain Home since 1972 has been the 366th Fighter Wing (366 FW) of the Air Combat Command (ACC), nicknamed the "Gunfighters." The base's primary mission is to provide combat airpower and combat support capabilities to respond to and sustain worldwide contingency operations.

The commander of the 366th FW is Colonel John D. Bird II.[3]

Part of the base is a census-designated place (CDP); the population was 8,894 at the 2000 census.

Contents

Units

366th Fighter Wing.png

Mountain Home AFB is the home of the 366th Fighter Wing (366 FW), which reports to Air Combat Command (ACC). The mission of the 366 FW is to prepare Airmen and their families, professionally and personally, for expeditionary operations and foster an environment that promotes integration of all facets of wing operations.

The wing comprises four groups and three operational figher squadrons:

In addition, the 726th Air Control Squadron gives an air picture to the aircraft as they train. An active Idaho Air National Guard unit, the 266th Range Squadron, controls and maintains emitter sites within the 7,412-square-mile (19,200 km2) operational training range located in southern Idaho.

History

Construction of the field began in October 1942, and it officially opened August 7, 1943.

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Major Commands To Which Assigned

F-15E Strike Eagles
at Mountain Home AFB

Base Operating Units

  • Activated as Army Air Base, Mountain Home, August 7, 1942
  • Redesignated Mountain Home Army Air Field, December 2, 1943
    • 490th Bombardment Group, Heavy, December 4, 1943 – April 20, 1944
    • 213th Army Air Forces Base Unit, March 25, 1944 – February 1945
    • 494th Bombardment Group (Heavy), April 15 – June 1, 1944
    • 426th Army Air Forces Base Unit, February 1945 – October 1, 1946
  • Airfield Inactivated, October 5, 1946
  • Airfield redesignated Mountain Home Air Force Base, January 13, 1948
  • Base Reactivated, December 1, 1948
  • Base Inactivated, April 15, 1950
  • Base Reactivated, February 1, 1951
    • 1701st Air Transport Wing, February 1, 1951 – c. April 1951
    • 580th Air Resupply and Communications Wing, April 16, 1951 – September 17, 1952
    • 581st Air Resupply and Communications Wing, July 23, 1951 – June 26, 1952
    • 582nd Air Resupply and Communications Wing, September 24, 1952 – May 1, 1953
    • 9th Bombardment Wing, Medium (later 9th Strategic Aerospace Wing), May 1, 1953 – June 25, 1966
    • 813th Air Division, July 1, 1959 – July 1, 1964
    • 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, January 1, 1966 – July 15, 1971
    • 347th Tactical Fighter Wing, May 15, 1971 – October 31, 1972
    • 366th Tactical Fighter Wing, October 31, 1972 – October 1, 1991
    • Redesignated 366th Wing, October 1, 1991 – September 27, 2002
    • Redesignated 366th Fighter Wing, September 27, 2002 – present

Operational history

World War II

Oblique aerial photo of
Mountain Home Army Air Field
- June 1945

Crews started building the base in November 1942 and the new field officially opened on August 7, 1943. Shortly thereafter, airman at the field began training United States Army Air Force crews for World War II. The 396th Bombardment Group (Heavy) was the first unit assigned and its planned mission was to train crews for the B-17 Flying Fortress. However, before the first B-17s arrived, plans for the field changed and the 396th was transferred to Moses Lake AAF, Washington.

Instead of training B-17 crews, Mountain Home airmen began training crews for the B-24 Liberator. The first group to do so was the 470th Bombardment Group (Heavy), which trained at Mountain Home from May 1943 until January 1944, when the unit moved to Tonopah AAF Nevada. The 490th Bombardment Group (Heavy) replaced the 470th and trained B-24 crews until it deployed to RAF Eye England in April 1944. The 494th Bombardment Group then replaced the 490th, once more training Liberator crews.

The base also received fighter aircraft to add realism to its training. A few P-38 Lightning and P-63 Kingcobra pursuit planes arrived in January 1945 to simulate attacks on B-24s. In June 1945, Mountain Home also briefly served as a training base for the new B-29 Superfortress with the 301st Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) training for combat, but the Japanese surrender in August brought a swift end to the new mission and, for a time, to the base at Mountain Home.

The base was placed in inactive status in October 1945.

Postwar Years

The base remained inactive until December 1948 when the newly independent United States Air Force and its Strategic Air Command (SAC) assigned first the 5th Reconnaissance Group and then the 5th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing and their camera-equipped RB-17 Flying Fortresses to Idaho and the newly renamed Mountain Home Air Force Base. This new lease on life was short-lived, however, lasting only until April 1950, when the base once again closed.

Less than a year later, the base was reactivated by the Military Air Transport Service, hosting the 580th, 581st, and 582nd Air Resupply and Communications Wings over the next three years. They flew C-119 Flying Boxcar, B-29 Superfortress, and SA-16 Albatross aircraft and trained to support covert special operations.

Strategic Air Command

When the last of these MATS wings departed for overseas duty in 1953, the base was transferred to the Strategic Air Command, which assigned its 9th Bombardment Wing to Mountain Home. The 9th relocated to Mountain Home AFB in May 1953, and began flying B-29 Superfortress bombers and KB-29H refueling aircraft. The 9th converted to the new B-47 Stratojet bomber and the KC-97 Stratotanker air refueling aircraft in September 1954, and kept alert bombers ready for war at a moment's notice and continued its mission as a SAC deterrent force through the early Cold War years of the 1950s and early 1960s.

In 1959, construction of three Titan I missile sites began in the local area. The 569th Strategic Missile Squadron controlled these sites and was assigned to the 9th Bombardment Wing in August 1962. To prepare for the addition of missiles to its bomber forces, Air Force re-designated the wing as the 9th Strategic Aerospace Wing in April 1962.

Two years later, SAC's mission at MHAFB began to wind down, and in November 1964, the Air Force announced that the missile sites would be closed. In late 1965, the Air Force also phased out the aging B-47 bomber and announced plans to bring the 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing to Mountain Home.

Tactical Air Command

F-111F (AF# 70-2394)
of the 391 TFS / 347 TFW,
September 16, 1972.

In January 1966, with the closure of the missile sites and the move of the 67th to Mountain Home, control of the base passed from SAC to Tactical Air Command (TAC).

The wing conducted photographic, visual, radar, and thermal reconnaissance operations. While having these operational commitments, it also conducted replacement training for RF-4C Phantom II crew members being deployed to Southeast Asia.

In September 1966, the wing's 12th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron transferred to the 460th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing at Tan Son Nhut Air Base, South Vietnam. As required, the 67 TRW also supported operations when crew members ferried RF-4Cs to the war theater.

Beginning in 1968, the 67th also conducted tactical fighter operations with the addition of a squadron of F-4D Phantom IIs. This fighter mission lasted until late 1970 when the F-4Ds were reassigned.

When U.S. forces began the drawdown from South Vietnam, the 67 TRW designation moved in July 1971 to Bergstrom Air Force Base, Texas. It was replaced by the 347th Tactical Fighter Wing, equipped with F-111F Aardvarks. The 347th had a short stay at Mountain Home, conducting F-111F training until October 1972, when the 366 TFW moved from Vietnam to Mountain Home. Upon its arrival, the 366th absorbed all the personnel and equipment of the 347th.

366th Fighter Wing

F-15E's of the 366 FW
(AF# 90-0233, 90-0248)
in a low-level training mission
over the Sawtooth Range

The 366th Fighter Wing (in various designations) has been the host unit at Mountain Home for over 35 years, following its return from the Vietnam War in late 1972.

Before the 366th Tactical Fighter Wing's arrival at Mountain Home, the 389th, 390th, and 391st Tactical Fighter Squadrons had returned from South Vietnam, joined the 347th, and began converting to F-111F aircraft. For the first time since it left for Vietnam, the wing once again had its three original flying units.

Operations continued unchanged for several years. The wing tested its readiness in August 1976 when a border incident in Korea prompted the United States to augment its military contingent in South Korea as a show of force. The 366th deployed a squadron of 20 F-111 fighters, which reached Korea only 31 hours after receiving launch notification. Tensions eased shortly afterward and the detachment returned home.

In early 1991, the Air Force announced that the 366th would become the Air Force's premier "air intervention" composite wing. The wing would grow with the addition of a squadron of EF-111A Raven electronic warfare aircraft and a squadron of B-1B Lancer bombers to become a dynamic, five squadron wing with the ability to deploy rapidly and deliver integrated combat airpower.

The air intervention composite wing's rapid transition from concept to reality began in October 1991 when Air Force redesignated the wing as the 366th Wing. The wing's newly reactivated "fighter squadrons" became part of the composite wing in March 1992. The 389th Fighter Squadron began flying the dual-role F-16C Fighting Falcon, while the 391st Fighter Squadron was equipped with the new F-15E Strike Eagle. These two squadrons provide Gunfighters round-the-clock precision strike capability.

Following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the resultant initiation of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM (OEF), the 366th Wing once again got the call. While the 34th Bomb Squadron deployed to Diego Garcia as the B-1 component of the 28th Air Expeditionary Wing, the wing sent a Base Operations Support package to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, to transform the bare base into a fully functional airfield for large-scale combat operations. In October 2001, the 391st Fighter Squadron deployed to Al Jaber Air Base, Kuwait, while the 389th Fighter Squadron went to Al Udeid in November.

Following the wing's return from Southwest Asia, the Air Force began consolidating its B-1 Lancer and KC-135 Stratotanker forces. This led to the reallocation of the wing's bombers and tankers. The 22 ARS' aircraft began transferring to McConnell AFB, Kansas, in May 2002 and the squadron inactivated the following August. The 34 BS' B-1Bs began moving to Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota, in June and the squadron officially moved in September. Following the departure of these assets, the Air Force redesignated the 366th as a Fighter Wing. With these changes, the wing's 10-year mission as the Air Force's only standing air expeditionary wing came to an end.

Space Shuttle

Mountain Home AFB's 13,500 ft runway (2.557 mi., 4.115 km) is an alternative landing site for NASA's Space Shuttle.

Awards and recognition

- 2005 National Order of Daedalians
- 2006 National Order of Daedalians
- ACC's Best Maintenance Group - 366 Maintenance Group - 2006–2007 Commander in Chief's Installation Excellence Award

Geography

Mountain Home AFB is located at 43°2′58″N 115°51′59″W / 43.04944°N 115.86639°W / 43.04944; -115.86639 (43.049511, -115.866452),[4]
at an elevation of 2996 feet (913 m) above sea level.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 9.9 square miles (25.7 km²), and 0.10% is water.

Demographics

Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1970 6,038
1980 6,403 6.0%
1990 5,936 −7.3%
2000 8,894 49.8%
source:[5][6]

As of the census[7] of 2000, there were 8,894 people, 1,476 households, and 1,452 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 896 per suare mile (346/km²). There were 1,590 housing units at an average density of 160 per square mile (62/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 83.21% White, 6.90% Black or African American, 0.76% Native American, 2.52% Asian, 0.20% Pacific Islander, 2.70% from other races, and 3.70% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.47% of the population.

There were 1,476 households out of which 76.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 91.9% were married couples living together, 4.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 1.6% were non-families. 1.4% of all households were made up of individuals and none had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.40 and the average family size was 3.43.

In the CDP the population was spread out with 24.0% under the age of 18, 24.4% from 18 to 24, 49.7% from 25 to 44, 1.8% from 45 to 64, and 0.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 25 years. For every 100 females there were 180.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 219.5 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $31,634, and the median income for a family was $31,377. Males had a median income of $24,865 versus $20,664 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $17,671. About 6.5% of families and 7.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.1% of those under age 18 and none of those age 65 or over.

See also

References

Further reading

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.
 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Government document "Mountain Home Air Force Base".

  • Maurer, Maurer. Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office 1961 (republished 1983, Office of Air Force History, ISBN 0-912799-02-1).
  • Ravenstein, Charles A. Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947–1977. Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Office of Air Force History 1984. ISBN 0-912799-12-9.
  • Mueller, Robert, Air Force Bases Volume I, Active Air Force Bases Within the United States of America on 17 September 1982, Office of Air Force History, 1989
  • USAAS-USAAC-USAAF-USAF Aircraft Serial Numbers--1908 to present

External links


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