Mountain Home Air Force Base is an operation air station in Elmore County, Idaho. Mountain Home AFB is known across the United States Air Force as the home of the 366th Fighter Wing, better known as the Gunfighters. Located 12 miles southwest of Mountain Home, Idaho and 40 miles southeast of Boise, the remote base is tasked with providing combat air power and combat support to all United States forces across the globe.
Construction of Mountain Home AFB began in 1942 with the intention of consolidating military power in the United States. In August of 1943 the base became operational under the command of the US Army Air Corps. Combat training missions began immediately, with the first base residents being the 396th Heavy Bombardment Group. Airmen were to train with the formidable B-17 Flying Fortress, but plans changed almost immediately. The 369th Heavy Bombardment Group was transferred to the Moses Lake Army Airfield in Washington.
The 470th Heavy Bombardment Group quickly filled the vacancy and began training with the B-24 Liberator. The unit remained stationed at Mountain Home until 1944, when it was moved to Tonopah Army Air Field in Nevada. The 490th Heavy Bombardment Group quickly transferred into Mountain Home and continued training with B-24 Liberators until their deployment to Royal Army Airfield Eye in England. The final World War II era unit to rotate into Mountain Home was the 494th Heavy Bombardment Group, which remained through the close of hostilities in Japan. Following the surrender of Japan, the base was deactivated and assets were transferred. The base remained dormant for three years until 1948, when it was brought back into active status under control of the newly formed Untied States Air Force.
The history of Mountain Home AFP is distinctly marked by the large number of units that have been stationed there. In addition to bomber and fighter units, the base was also home to the two largest radar systems in the world from 1985 to 1987. One of the most notable events in the bases history revolves around a 2003 crash at the installation. One of the base’s most experienced pilots, Captain Chris Stricklen, was flying an F-16 Thunderbird during a public air show. Shortly after takeoff, Captain Stricklen attempted a routine maneuver, but due an altitude error the aircraft had insufficient time to complete the maneuver. The pilot was able to guide the plane away from spectators, and one second before impact was able to eject. The pilot sustained only minor injuries, however the near $20 million plane was destroyed.
The main resident of Mountain Home AFB is the 366th Fighter Wing and its contingent of four support groups. It is directly controlled by the United States Air Combat Command and is frequently deployed in support of ongoing US missions and training operations. The 366th Fighter Wing is crewed by a force of 5000 commissioned and enlisted US Airmen in addition to civilian counterparts.
The housing office of Mountain AFB, Balfour Beatty Communities, is tasked with handling all on post housing. This change of practice is a movement for the privatization of base housing by the Air Force and Department of Defense. While all post housing requires an advance application, there is a range of options for incoming Airmen and their families.