Mountain Home Air Force Base




Mountain Home Air Force Base

Site Information

Country: United States of America
State: Mountain Home, Idaho
Location: 43° 2' 47" N - 115° 51' 33" W
Field Documentation Date(s): To be determined
Project Release Date(s): February 28th, 2013
Time Range: 1943 CE - Present
Era: Cold War
Site Authority: USAF
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Photograph of the Mountain Home Air Force Base Alert Facility, facing West.

Site Description

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Since it opened in 1943, Mountain Home Air Force Base has served a vital role in protecting U.S. interests, both at home and abroad. While many important people have passed through its gates, none are more important than the men and women of the air force and their families. During the 1950’s, Mountain Home Air Force Base was transformed from a small, sparse airfield into a thriving community, an air force base worthy of being called “home” to the personnel and families stationed there. Today, the base hosts the 366th Tactical Fighter Wing.
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History

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Construction of the Mountain Home Air Force Base began in November 1942, with the new field officially opening on 7 August 1943. Shortly thereafter, airman at the field began training United States Army Air Force crews for World War II. Mountain Home airmen began training crews on aircraft from the B-24 Liberator to the B-29 Superfortress. After the surrender of the Japanese, the base was placed in inactive status in October 1945.

Less than a year later, the base was reactivated, hosting the Air Resupply and Communications Wings over the next three years. When the last of these wings departed for overseas duty in 1953, the base was transferred to Strategic Air Command. It was during this era that the base began keeping alert bombers ready for war at a moments notice, continuing its mission as a deterrent force throughout the Cold War years of the 1950s and early 1960s.

In 1959, construction of three Titan 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.

A few years later, the Strategic Air Command mission at Mountain Home began to wind down, and in November 1964, the Air Force announced that the missile sites would be closed. The Air Force also began phasing out the aging B-47 bomber and announced plans to bring the 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing to Mountain Home.

With the closure of the missile sites and the move of the 67th to Mountain Home, control of the base passed from Strategic Air Command to Tactical Air Command. The 67th conducted photographic, visual, radar, and thermal reconnaissance operations. Two years later the 67th also conducted tactical fighter operations with the addition of a squadron of F-4D Phantoms which lasted until late 1970 when the F-4Ds were reassigned.

The 347th Tactical Fighter Wing replaced the 67th as host unit of the base in May 1971. The 347th had a short stay at Mountain Home until October 1972, when the 366th TFW moved from Vietnam to Mountain Home and absorbed all the people and equipment of the 347th. The 366th has remained the host unit of Mountain Home Air Force Base ever since.
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Perspective of the Northwestern Corner at Mountain Home Air Force Base.

Project Narrative

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In 2012, CyArk partnered with the Mountain Home AFB to digitally preserve selected portions of the base. In August of 2012, a team of CyArk professionals traveled to Mountain Home Air Force Base to digitally document the Alert Facility and historic Officer Quarters. CyArk is proud to provide a web portal that integrates the highly-accurate laser scan data with a rich collection of historic documentation, including photographs, video footage, drawings, and documents.
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Area Descriptions

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Alert Facility
Alert Facility Ground Level
Basement Level
Officers Residence
Colonel's Residence
Commander's Residence
General's Residence

Alert Facility

Alert Facility Description:

In 1956, Strategic Air Command began to put its bombers on sustained alert status at selected bases, however SAC needed to address the needs of a specialized alert apron, for immediate takeoff, and immediately adjacent crew quarters, for rapid boarding.

SAC's initial time-frame for alert was one hour from notice to takeoff for one-third of its assigned fleet at each of its bases, a change from the six-hour minimum existing before the ready-alert concept. The goal was to achieve take-off within the 15 minute window assumed to be required by 1961: by that date SAC anticipated that the Soviet Union would have an operational ICBM, with a "detection to detonation time" of a quarter-hour.

To achieve this, SAC would need to redesign the two current apron configurations: rectangular apron for mass aircraft parking, and, "stub parking" for individual planes. The solution was to change plans for the alert apron to a herringbone configuration, where not only was the alert taxiway at 45 degrees, but also the individual aircraft stubs.

In late 1957 none of the existing alert aprons in any configuration included permanent crew quarters. Individual installations followed the orders from SAC headquarters and adapted barracks and dormitories near the flightline where possible, but this was soon found to be expensive. The Second Air Force influenced the form that a second interim solution would take, with its commander asserting that commercial house trailers were the answer to a ready-made, moveable, interim alert housing.

While the existing renovated flightline barracks and interim alert crew trailers were in use, SAC decided that a single, permanent readiness crew facility sited at the head of the alert apron was the preferred solution to alert housing. The SAC alert crew quarters, like the SAC command post, were partially below ground structures of reinforced concrete and concrete-block construction, moleholes were of two-story height, with one story below ground. These windowless alert quarters were identical everywhere, with tunnel-like egress covered in corrugated steel. The design was revolutionary for the time period and helped to raise moral as well as efficiency.


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Alert Facility Ground Level

Alert Facility Ground Level Description:

The SAC alert crew quarters is a partially below ground structure constructed of reinforced concrete and concrete-block construction, two-story height, with one story below ground. These windowless alert quarters were identical everywhere, with tunnel-like egress covered in corrugated steel. The facility had 31,000 square feet and could hold 150 men.


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Basement Level

Basement Level Description:

The SAC alert crew quarters is a partially below ground structure constructed of reinforced concrete and concrete-block construction, two-story height, with one story below ground. These windowless alert quarters were identical everywhere, with tunnel-like egress covered in corrugated steel. The facility had 31,000 square feet and could hold 150 men.


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Officers Residence

Officers Residence Description:

Personnel housing built during the base's construction consisted of poorly constructed, wood-framed barracks and trailers. After World War II, a strong military was needed to fight a new type of war-the Cold War. However, retaining experience veterans proved difficult as the current state of the military accommodations was less than alluring. With the prospect of losing troops in a time of increasing global tension, Congress approved two bills - the Wherry Housing Act and the Capehart Housing Act - that funded building programs at military facilities throughout the United States.

The housing complexes at Mountain Home Air Force Base were designed by renowned architects Richard J. Neutra and Robert E. Alexander, known for their iconically 'Californian' architecture. Neutra and Alexander were challenged to design homes not for one family, as they were accustom to, but for numerous families moving in and out in rapid succession as their assignments changed. The single-family homes had practical, flexible layouts and a clear relationship between interior and exterior spaces. In November 1959, Mountain Home Air Force Base received the distinction of “best new housing Air Force bases in the Northern Tier of the United States”, due to Neutra and Alexander’s revolutionary design.


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Colonel's Residence

Colonel's Residence Description:

The officer’s residences were designed and built in 1957 as part of the Werry Housing Act. The housing complexes at Mountain Home Air Force Base were designed by renowned architects Richard J. Neutra and Robert E. Alexander, known for their iconically 'Californian' architecture. Neutra and Alexander were challenged to design homes not for one family, as they were accustom to, but for numerous families moving in and out in rapid succession as their assignments changed. The single-family homes had practical, flexible layouts and a clear relationship between interior and exterior spaces.


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Commander's Residence

Commander's Residence Description:

The officer’s residences were designed and built in 1957 as part of the Werry Housing Act. The housing complexes at Mountain Home Air Force Base were designed by renowned architects Richard J. Neutra and Robert E. Alexander, known for their iconically 'Californian' architecture. Neutra and Alexander were challenged to design homes not for one family, as they were accustom to, but for numerous families moving in and out in rapid succession as their assignments changed. The single-family homes had practical, flexible layouts and a clear relationship between interior and exterior spaces.


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General's Residence

General's Residence Description:

The officer’s residences were designed and built in 1957 as part of the Werry Housing Act. The housing complexes at Mountain Home Air Force Base were designed by renowned architects Richard J. Neutra and Robert E. Alexander, known for their iconically 'Californian' architecture. Neutra and Alexander were challenged to design homes not for one family, as they were accustom to, but for numerous families moving in and out in rapid succession as their assignments changed. The single-family homes had practical, flexible layouts and a clear relationship between interior and exterior spaces.


return to area list