National Guard stages exercise at Smith Prairie airstrip

When calculating the value of Idaho’s airstrips military training usually doesn’t enter the equation. But after last week, ITD’s partnership with the Idaho National Guard joined the list of airstrip benefits.

The Division of Aeronautics opened the aerial gates to the Smith Prairie airstrip May 31-June 2 for tactical training by the Idaho Attack Reconnaissance Battalion for ground and air training.

Approximately 10 helicopters joined ground forces and vehicles for the training. Operations also used, under an agreement with a nearby property owner, private land for staging the training. The exercise included standard aircraft procedures against known objectives and some reconnaissance activities.

“Smith Prairie was a great choice to stage the training operation,” said JV DeThomas, administrator of the Division of Aeronautics. “We were happy to make it available for the exercises. We look forward to these kinds of partnerships whenever they surface.”

The airstrip is about 30 miles east of Boise and south of Trinity Mountains and is at an elevation of 4,958 feet above sea level. It features a 5,400-foot grass runway, aircraft tiedowns, camping and toilet facilities. Its proximity to Boise made it an ideal location for the National Guard training.

Published 6-8-2012