Gowen Field

Gowen Field

Originally called the Boise Air Base, Gowen Field was started as a training base for the Army Air Corps in 1940. The name was later changed to honor Lt. Paul R. Gowen, a Caldwell, Idaho, native who was killed in a plane crash while on duty in Panama in 1938.

With the United States entering WWII in 1941, Gowen Field became a training base for B-17 Flying Fortresses in 1942. Crews would fly practice missions with 100-pound concrete bombs against targets in the desert. Soon after, Gowen Field received B-24 Liberators and started training crews who went to both the Pacific and European Theaters. One notable trainee was actor Jimmy Stewart. He trained as a pilot and eventually flew a B-24 over Europe.

After the war ended, Gowen Field was closed for a brief period of time. In 1947, Gowen Field became home to the newly formed Idaho Air National Guard and the 190th Fighter Squadron. Since that time, Gowen Field has seen several changes in aircraft – P-51 Mustang, F-86A Sabre, F-94 Starfire, F-89 Scorpion, F-4 Phantom II, F-4G Wild Weasel – and finally the C-130 Hercules and the A-10 Thunderbolt II.

The A-10, affectionately called the Warthog, has flown numerous overseas missions since 1999 in Iraq and Afghanistan. Gowen Field is also one of five air bases being considered for the new F-35.

Although Gowen Field may be primarily viewed as an Air Base, the Army has always had a strong presence at the base. The 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team is scattered across the state, but is coordinated from Gowen Field. The Army Guard has used a fleet for Black Hawk Helicopters for more than 20 years – based out of Gowen.

The National Guard – both Army and Air – have a strong history of involvement with the community, helping out with natural disasters from fires to floods.

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