Ready to fly Idaho
Singapore Air Force arrives in Mountain Home
By Nate Poppino and Ashley Smith
MOUNTAIN HOME - The world outside Idaho got a little bit smaller Wednesday, as four F-15SG fighter jets flown from St. Louis by the Royal Singapore Air Force landed between rainstorms at Mountain Home Air Force Base.
Greeted by a cheering crowd of more than 100 military personnel from both Singapore and the U.S., the four jets are the first of as many as 10 that will call the airbase home for at least the next 20 years.
More than 300 active-duty and support personnel will make up the 428th Fighter Squadron and train alongside American pilots as part of a partnership between the two countries - though they will not fly on missions.
U.S. Air Force representatives haven't allowed interviews yet with the Singaporean pilots and crews. But Lt. Col. Keith Gibson, the training squadron's U.S. commander, said U.S. officials have high hopes for the program.
"The base is very excited to work with the RSAF because this partnership provides important combat readiness training for our Singapore partners, and fulfills the need to train as a team in a multi-national force structure," Gibson said.
As many as 2,000 active-duty personnel from Singapore may live and work on the base over the life of the program. The squadron will be officially activated at a May 18 ceremony at the base.