Mountain Home Air Force Base
Home to 366th Fighter Wing

Mountain Home AFB, Idaho

Mountain Home AFB has a rich history that stretches back more than 50 years to the United States’ entry into World War II. Crews began construction on the base located outside of Mountain Home, Idaho in November 1942 and the new field officially opened on 7 August 1943. Shortly thereafter, airmen at the field began training United States Army Air Force crews to aid in the war effort. Over the next half century, the base would be home to six different host units and train fighter and support pilots for every major United States engagement.

Housing Revolution

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. The objective was to protect the U.S. against potential Soviet Union-led aggression using technologically advanced weaponry and surveillance systems. The military needed to retain as many of its experienced soldiers as possible and make a career in the military more attractive. With the prospect of losing troops at a time of increasing global tension, Congress approved two bills – the Wherry Housing Act and the Capehard Housing Act – that funded building programs at military facilities throughout the United States.

Neutra’s Influence

At Mountain Home AFB, renowned architects Richard Neutra and Robert Alexander were selected to design the new family housing. Neutra’s beautiful (yet practical) designs blended perfectly with the military’s vision for improving the life of U.S. airmen. Neutra’s domestic architecture was a blend of art, landscape, and practical comfort which resulted in iconic structures like the Kaufmann House in Palm Springs and Stuart Bailey House, part of the architectural acclaimed Case Study House program. Neutra believed that a modern home should be spacious yet compact, beautiful yet practical, and an environment that improved both the physical and emotional well-being of its inhabitants.

The Cold War

In 1956, Strategic Air Command (SAC) began to put its bombers on sustained alert status at selected bases; however, SAC had to address the needs of a specialized alert apron for immediate takeoff and adjacent crew quarters for rapid boarding. To accomplish this, the SAC decided that a single, permanent readiness crew facility situated at the head of the alert apron was the preferred solution to alert housing. The design was revolutionary for the time period and helped to raise moral as well as efficiency due to the innovative crew quarters.

Mountain Home Today

Mountain Home Air Force Base remains an active center for air force tactical training. While the original aprons remain in use, the crew facility is being studied for possible adaptive reuse to meet today’s current training needs. Though Mountain Home is still teaming with activity, both Neutra’s residences and the alert facility remain as iconic reminders of the Cold War.

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.


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