The sound of freedom returns to the Treasure Valley this week.  Out of town fighter jets return to our area as another sign of a return to normalcy.  If you're new to the area, get ready, it's going to get very loud here!

Did you know Idaho is home to two of the best training facilities in the world for training fighter pilots?  Units from around the world travel to Gowen Field and Mountain Home Air Force Base to train for real world conditions.  Idaho resembles same geographical challenges where conflict happens.

The Idaho Air National Guard will host six F-16 Fighting Falcons assigned to the 195th Fighter Squadron, 162nd Wing, Arizona Air National Guard, based at Tucson, Ariz., reports the Idaho Air Guard in a news release.

The jets are temporarily here to train with A-10s from the Idaho Air National Guard’s 190th Fighter Squadron. Operations will involve flights occurring during normal daylight hours. In addition to utilizing facilities and air space here in Idaho, both units will train together in the Utah Test and Training Range, located in Utah’s West Desert.

“Having another visiting unit train with us here at home only enhances our combat abilities,” said Col. Shannon Smith, commander of the Idaho Air National Guard’s 124th Fighter Wing. “When we are called to fight, we do so with other units that operate and maintain dissimilar aircraft, so training with them now is a critical component to maintaining our combat readiness.”

Photo Cred: Idaho Air National Guard Public Affairs

This experience will expose Idaho pilots to scenarios beyond their normal Close Air Support training and provide a unique opportunity to enhance their operational capabilities.

“As we prepare to host visiting units, our commitment to be good neighbors remains the same,” Smith said. “We want our neighbors to know what they can expect … additional aircraft means that the flight line will be louder at times, but as always, we will take the necessary steps to limit negative impacts to the community.  If anyone has any concerns, please call us so we can address them directly.”

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