~ Hi-Liting Mountain Home ~

   Mountain Home originated as a stage stop (Rattlesnake Station, founded in 1864) for the famous Overland Stages eight miles from its present location. When the railroad (Oregon Short Line) came through in 1883 it brought with it a new mail delivery service. The postmaster and stage agent, Jule Hage, packed up the post office and moved it down the hill to the railroad. Along with him came the name and settlement of Mountain Home.

    Rattlesnake Station, a stagecoach station, was established in 1864 by Ben Holladay as a stop on his new Overland Stage Line between Salt Lake City, Utah, and Walla Walla, Washington.



   Rattlesnake Station approximately seven miles northeast from exit 95 on Interstate 84, a historical marker located at milepost 102.7 on U.S. Route 20 commemorates its location.


   The Overland line was acquired by the Northwestern Stage Company in 1870, which made the station a stop for its weekly stage line from Boise to the South Boise mines and an overnight stop in 1875.

    See Idaho Chapter of Oregon-California Trails Association for more information on the Oregon Trail.

    In 1876, a post office named "Mountain Home" was established at Rattlesnake Station. Fire destroyed several station buildings on October 12, 1878, but were rebuilt and continued to serve stages until 1914, when the route was abandoned. The post office was moved down, dragged by mule teams, to the present location of Mountain Home in 1883 to be closer to the recently completed railroad, the Oregon Short Line.


Mountain Home Railroad Depot


   Mountain Home was incorporated as a village in 1896. The initial village board consisted of A.B. Clark, R.F. Whitney, W.J. Turner and G.F. Mahoney.



  Mountain Home became a shipping and distribution center for the livestock, mining and logging business.

  Mountain Home Air Force Base, located 10 miles from Mountain Home, was established during the early stages of World War II. The Air Base would become one of the major life lines for Mountain Home.

  When irrigation systems were built, with the help of high-lift pumping and the construction of irrigation dams, the agricultural industry became stronger and much of the desert land was opened to farming. Thousands of acres of land could now produce grain, hay, sugar beets, potatoes, and beans.

  Livestock production and, more recently, the dairy industry have also made a considerable contribution to the local economy.

  Mountain Home has a current population of approximately 14,600 and is a community of diverse cultures. It sets at an elevation of 3,143 feet. The hottest month is July and the coldest is January. Average annual precipitation is 10.7 inches.

  Mountain Home is especially proud of its parks, visitor’s center, golf course, and museum.

   Being centrally located in Elmore County, Mountain Home is referred to as “The Hub of Elmore County”.





Mountain View Cemetery: A Look into the Past

by Tomas Hiler


  Commodore George Jackson was a true Idaho pioneer and could be called one of the founding fathers of Mountain Home. After leaving the Midwest in 1864 and after an arduous train journey reached Virginia City, Montana, Mr. Jackson worked for several different contractors as a stage driver including the Wells Fargo & Company Express.

  The stage stations were located 12 miles apart where the horses were changed. At each 50 miles, a home station was located where travelers as well as drivers could find refreshments and lodging.

  In 1872, Mr. Jackson bought a quarter of land section 8 miles north of the present site of Mountain Home. He operated a stage stop known first as “Rattle Snake Station”, later changed to Mountain Home, as it was located at the foothills of the mountains. Postal service was delivered to this site. Under the desert-claim act, he also took up land where Mountain Home currently stands; part of which he sold to the railroad and another part to a land company. The land that he first purchased, where present day Mountain Home is, was a large ranch that he and his family operated.

  When the Oregon Short Line Railroad came to the area in 1883, they established a stopping place here for replenishing their water. Access to water near the surface made Mountain Home an ideal place to put a train station so that the steam engines could easily access the water. Since the mail would now be coming via the railroad, Jackson moved his post office down from the mountains and the developing village was later named Mountain Home. He married in 1868, fathered 3 children and for nearly 3 score and 10 years carried on his many industrious enterprises from the early years of the territory. He is still honored as one of the most esteemed citizens of the southern half of the state of Idaho. Jackson Street, which divides the south and north sections of Mountain Home, was named after this grand old veteran. Commodore Jackson’s headstone can be found in the Mountain View Cemetery in Mountain Home.



  Shortly after the Oregon Short Line Railroad arrived in Mountain Home, another prominent citizen arrived. David Dodge, a Civil War Veteran, had married Jennie Steers in 1872. She taught David how to read, write and figure. They had four children, Willis, Frank, Mamie, and Lillie.

  David did farming, well digging, and operated sawmills, building his own mill in 1879, at Elmdale, Wisconsin. They moved to Shoshone, ID in 1884. David worked for the Oregon Short Line Railway, building a roundhouse and machine shops. In 1885, they moved to Mountain Home and filed on a 160-acre preemption claim.

  David’s wife Jennie died in 1892 and with his wife’s death, David felt his world crushed.  He resigned from the railroad and turned to his faith. He did extensive missionary traveling for the Seventh Day Adventist Church. He gave Mountain Home the land for its cemetery.  He planted the first trees in Mountain Home and served on the jury of the first murder trial as well. David later died on the 27th of April 1926 in Mountain Home.



  In August of 1962 our local government became very familiar with the wishes David Dodge had for his land that was donated for our present day cemetery. The City was clearing additional land to expand the cemetery and was forced to acquire the whereabouts of their deed for the property in that area. The deed was granted officially to the City of Mountain Home providing that the heirs of David Dodge would receive 10 cemetery lots for their descendants.

  David and Jennie Dodge’s Headstone is very visible in the cemetery. Descendants of David and Jennie replaced the original headstone with a new one in 1993. The following is in-scripted on the back of the headstone:

    “David and Jennie homesteaded 161 acres in Mountain Home in 1885. Their property included the area of this cemetery to which they donated 5 acres.David was a pioneer who wore many hats. Farmer, sawmill operator, Civil War Veteran, railroad worker and missionary. David planted the first trees in this city. His own roots must have went very deep as six generations of direct descendants have lived here as of 1993”

  It is very probable that the reason David Dodge and his family planted the first trees in Mountain Home was due to the terms of the pre-emption act that they filed on in Mountain Home.  The act states, the settler had to move onto the land, build some kind of residence, break at least ten acres of sod, and plant a crop. After five, but no more than seven years, the homesteader received title to the land with the payment of small fees. In 1873 Congress passed the Timber Culture Act that provided an additional free 160 acres provided that the farmer planted ten acres in trees. After eight years, if the trees survived, a title would be granted. Free land was a powerful incentive to come to Idaho.

  A tour of Mountain View Cemetery (Mountain Home) provides a lot of history for our community.  One of the mysteries that I personally encountered was the fact that there are burials in our cemetery that have dates of death as far back as 1828.  How is this possible if the land for our cemetery was not donated until after 1885?  David Dodge donated the land for the cemetery knowing that it was becoming a necessity for the growing community.  Once the land was donated, most of the existing burial sites scattered all around were dug-up and moved to the present day cemetery allowing for our community to have a centralized area cemetery.  A death date of 1828 shows how long people had been living in this area.  Robbie Porter, son of J.A. & C.A. Porter died in Mountain Home on June 25th, 1882 at the age of 10 years old.  His headstone is the oldest erected headstone in the cemetery.



  Mountain View Cemetery includes several war sections for Civil War and Spanish American War Veterans. Corporal Joseph Dean, Company F, 15th Illinois Infantry and George W. Smith of Company H 51st Missouri Infantry are buried in the cemetery along with Hector A. Beach, Company F, 14th Minnesota Infantry who fought in the Spanish American War.




  One of the more popular men buried in the cemetery is that of John McKeown better known as “Johnny-Behind-the-Rocks”. He was originally a placer miner by trade. Before coming to the Mountain Home vicinity, he was in Silver City, Idaho City, North Idaho and Rocky Bar. He finally took up homesteading near Dixie and spent the rest of his life raising cattle and horses. Needless to say he was in many ways, very odd, although he was generous to those he liked.

  He was a very dirty man at the time of his last sickness. When brought to town, he had on parts of 6 suits, several pair of underwear and approximately $1500 was found in his pockets.  He was brought in for medical care, but since his first order was to be bathed and cleaned up, the story goes, “He just couldn’t take a bath after so many years without one.”  He was buried in Mountain View Cemetery and his monument can be seen which was made possible with the money found on him when he died. Along Highway 20 at the base of Bennett Mountain, there is a newly erected sign along the highway marking the closest location near the highway where Johnny lived.



  Charles Sprittles was an Idaho Pioneer who lived in the Rocky Bar and Featherville area.  He was born in 1881 and died in 1964. Charlie would deliver the U.S. mail on foot between Featherville and Rocky Bar. Charlie went missing in the winter and was found dead in the spring of 1964 after freezing to death during the winter.



Photos and history of the Cemetery





Army Air Corps Come to Mountain Home


   On July 10th 1938 Howard Hughes took off from Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn New York headed east to fly around the world. From Brooklyn to ParisOmsk and Yakutsk, Russia to Fairbanks, Minneapolis and back to Bennett Field in 3 days 19 hours and 8 minutes, flying 14,824 miles around the world setting a time shattering aviation record. Hughes and his crew of four flew the Lockheed 14 twin-engine plane with precision and vary little excitement. He later said that any US military trained pilot and navigator could do the same thing.


Howard Hughes "standing in front of his new Boeing Army Pursuit Plane"

in Inglewood, California in the 1940s


   Howard Hughes was a Texas millionaire whose family made lots of money in beer brewing and oil drilling bits. His world flight opened the door to the much larger world of long distance air travel and especially the viability of the American Flying machine. The twin-engine Lockheed was the prototype of what would become the World War II bomber. With its twin tail and streamlined design it looked like a smaller version of what would become the B-17 and the B-24, the two workhorses of wartime American air power. Seeing the potential of it, Britain, just a month before, had ordered 200 of the14’s to be built at Lockheed’s Burbank California plant to be used as bombers. With its two Wright 1,100 h.p. engines and a top speed of 250 mph it was the fastest transport plane in the world. Lockheed had been on the cutting edge of transport planes for several years – Post and Gatty flew a Vega around the world in ’31 and Amelia Earhart was flying an Electra when she disappeared on her world flight in July ’37 – a mystery that still hasn’t been completely solved.


The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress is a four-engine heavy bomber aircraft

developed in the 1930s for the then-United States Army Air Corps (USAAC).


B-24s under construction at Ford Motor's Willow Run plant.


   Hughes, who for all his eccentricities, was a visionary when it came to air travel. He flew planes, made movies of planes, (Blue Angels) built planes, (Hughes Aircraft) started airlines, (Hughes Air West) and built and flew the biggest airplane ever (Spruce Goose). The effects Howard Hughes and his pioneering in aviation are still being felt in the world today.

   In September 1939 Hitler invaded Poland, setting off World War II and planes that looked like the Lockheed 14 were dive bombing in Europe and bombing London. While in America, President Roosevelt began to crank up the American defense industry to supply our Allies with the implements of war.

   Another world war exploded in Europe as Hitler attacked France, Holland, Belgium, Norway, England and the Balkan countries. Together with his ally Mussolini of Italy who earlier had gone to war in Africa, he soon conquered all of Europe except England. Desperate for war supplies, England’s Prime Minister Churchill asked for help from the US. Soon American industry was churning out war production. In the meantime America had cut off the sale of scrap metal and oil to Japan, which had become Germany’s other ally, because of the Japanese war in China and against England and Holland.

   Because of Howard Hughes, Glen Curtis, Generals Billy Mitchell and Hap Arnold and many others like them the American Aircraft industry had become the leader in airplane innovations. In 1940 there were several multi-engine bombers on the drawing boards. The B-17 and the B-24 were already flying and the B-29 was being planned. The main drawback in warplane design was the lack of power plants capable of lifting the massive weight of the drawing board planes. England had the Rolls-Royce engine, very efficient for fighters but not powerful enough for heavy bombers. Germany and Japan too had high-speed fighter engines but neither ever really developed a long-range bomber engine. American engineers knew that the problem could be solved but it would take new metals and technology to build the super horsepower heave bomber gasoline engines needed.

   On May 27, 1941 President Roosevelt broadcasting by radio from the East Room in the Whitehouse before representatives of all the countries in North and South America, on all the American networks and via short wave to an estimated eighty five million people around the world. It was then that all Americans realized that it was only the United States that stood between Hitler and Nazi Germany’s plans to conquer the world. He said that America would be the arsenal of democracy and would not allow the spread of Fascism to our hemisphere. At the end of that historic speech President Roosevelt proclaimed a state of unlimited national emergency and asked all citizens to respond to this declaration by doing their duty. He also placed the US defense industry on a seven day a week – twenty-four hours a day schedule. With this unprecedented peacetime declaration the United States was for all intents and purposes placed on a war footing. This was a full six months before America entered World War II. By this action the President forestalled what would have been an even more catastrophic event if the nation had still, in December ’41, been following a peacetime program.

  As reported by Life magazine in its June 9. 1941 issue, this declaration brought the defense industry transportation, resource production and agriculture into the national defense system. Aircraft production expanded dramatically as Britain under the leadership of Prime Minister Winston Churchill placed huge orders for fighter and bombers. The draft had been re-instituted a bit earlier but it was not yet so extensive because volunteers were filling the ranks.

   Then on Dec. 7, 1941 the Japanese Imperial fleet launched its surprise attack on the US Navy base at Pearl Harbor in the Hawaiian Islands, then a United States Territory. This was the first major attack on American territory since the British invasion during the War of 1812 and for the next two or three generations time would be estimated as being: before Pearl Harbor or after Pearl Harbor.” The next day President Roosevelt asked and the congress passed a declaration of war against Japan. Then, amazingly, Hitler declared war on the United States and we in turn responded with a war declaration against Germany. This war declaration by Nazi Chancellor Hitler caught everyone completely off guard, and Churchill told his beleaguered British Cabinet that the war had just been won with Hitler’s dumb move of forcing America into the European war that had then been raging for over two years. (History Note: the US had been supporting the Britain, France and then the Soviet Union (Russia) with war supplies and funds through a program called Lend-Lease. America was not really in the war but it became the self-styled Arsenal of Democracy for those imperiled nations. In retrospect the Lend-Lease program had about as much to do with winning the war as any other single scheme.)

   Prior to December 7th the War Department had begun building Army Air Fields and Camps. With the beginning of the war the schedule was accelerated and suddenly many small towns found that they were to be the host of a large military establishment. This is exactly what happened to a little town with a `940 population of 1,163, Mountain Home, Idaho suddenly was a big player in winning the war.

   Early in 1942 the base establishment commission began looking at southern Idaho for places to put Army Air Fields. They found one at Pocatello and Gowen Field in Boise was authorized. Jerome, Idaho was carefully reviewed for a base but the commission thought that land there was too expensive at between $5 and $25 an acre. The commission came to Mtn. Hone. The community was on the railroad main line and astride Highway 30. Meteorological records were reviewed and it was found that there was little problem with bad weather or fog. Land was easily had for $.50 to $1.50 per acre, the base could be removed from all encroachment, water was available from deep wells and there was an abundance of Federal lands available for a large training range. In short order a deal was struck and Gus Nelson and Father King the local Catholic priest sold the US Army a large tract of land for about $1.00 an acre. The Sagebrush desert was perfect for the long level runways to be built for those airplanes that were still o the drawing boards waiting for engines to power them into the sky. In a few weeks construction began.

   Idaho was unlikely fertile ground for construction companies. Morrison Knudson the associate builders of Boulder dam, Grand Coulee dam and many other projects around the west was based in Boise along with Terteling Construction. MK had been building an airfield on Wake Island when the Pearl Harbor attack came and within hours Wake was also attacked. Many Idaho men were on Wake working for MK and all were captured, taken as prisoners of war because they had been drafted into the army in the defense of Wake. These men were some of the very first Americans captured and spent the whole war as slave labor on the Japanese home islands. Max Boesiger, then just 29 years old, was one of those captured and enslaved. His youth and tenacity for life kept him alive through those long years of unbelievably harsh captivity and who, after the war had his own construction business in Mtn. Home and later was Idaho Commissioner of Public Works. Later, Max spoke very sparingly of his captivity, not wanting to remember it or all his friends who died in the camp. He called it a “hellish”time.

   Another asset that Mtn. Home had that is not so well known is an abundance of high-grade gravel that is in a clay mix. This gravel mix was absolutely essential to building the thick, heavy runways necessary for the big planes to come.

   John Moyer recently told me about his dad coming to Mtn. Home to build the base. He worked for Terteling Construction (also Ray Harris) and drove his truck to the site of the base. It was a vast field of sagebrush at the end of a dirt road. They unloaded their International crawler tractors and began pushing away the brush just behind the surveyors and engineers who were laying out the runways. Soon there was a railroad built to the site from the U.P. main line and then a spur was run through the gravel pits just north of the base tracks. A line was run around the middle of the gravel pit and soon big draglines were loading long trains of gondola cars full of the pit run gravel and tit was going to the construction of the runways.

   The little town exploded as workers flocked to the base construction. Everyone who had a spare room was urged to rent it. Basements, attics, chicken coops and barns were hurriedly renovated for housing. As the President had said everyone should do they’re duty. Mountain Home Army Air field was put together with almost lightning speed – the surveyors and engineers laying it out just in front of the tractors in November of 1942 and planes flying off the runways in July 1943 – almost unbelievable today.


This is an aerial photo of Mountain Home Army Air field taken in 1945.


   The Base was a training center for B-24 Liberator bombers and looking at the Lockheed 14 that Hughes flew in 1038 you will immediately see the resemblance between it and the B-24. There were also P-38 Lightning’s stationed at Mtn. Home along with various and sundry transport DC-3s and little piper trainers. Mountain Home and Gown Field were tied together in training and within weeks there was a shuttle of 24 bus’s a day between the two fields, a bus every hour each way, all of them coming from or going to the base stopping at the Mellen Hotel downtown were Gwen Watson kept the Bus Depot and the Café and hotel running on a tight schedule. By this time in the war there was rationing of almost everything, food, shoes, clothing, tires and especially gasoline – about 5 gallons a week. So everyone rod buses and trains and almost all the GI’s coming and going by troop train. (History Note: The term “GI” was an acronym for “Government Issue” or “General Issue” and denoted almost everything military, becoming famous when Bill Mauldin the renowned WWII cartoonist’s ‘Willie and Joe’ GI characters reflected the foxhole commentary of the American fighting men and women.)


A B-24 Liberator Bomber, built by Consolidated, Ford, Douglas and North American,

more than 18,300 were produced. It had a top speed of 303 mph and 8,800 pound bomb load.



A Lockheed P-38 Lightning. This twin-engine fighter-bomber

would out fly just about anything in the world in its day.

P-38s were stationed at Mountain Home in ‘43-44’.


The DC-3 first flew on December 17, 1935



   Idaho was wide open for gambling in those days, slot machines everywhere, crap tables, (History Note: The type of crap table used today by all the casinos in Nevada and elsewhere was supposedly invented at the “30 Club” in Mountain Home.) and roulette, 21 and poker and Mtn. Home was no exception. The workers who poured in to build the base had lots of money in their pockets and were prime customers. At first there wasn’t much (any?) recreation at the new airfield and so town became the outlet for ‘far from home fly-boys.’ Most were just kids and underage so the local USO soon became a favorite stop for lonesome soldiers, a place where they could hang out, get a Coke and dance with a girl to the sounds of Benny Goodman, Glen Miller or most assuredly the rumba-like dreamy confection of Artie Shaw’s clarinet in “Begin the Beguine.” Saloons and bars proliferated along Main Street, even spilling over into the outskirts of town. It was heady time, a little western cow town suddenly thrust into the midst of the might war effort, never to be forgotten times by those who lived through them. (History Note: At the same time that Mountain Home was experiencing its population surge, Glenns Ferry, the other big town in Elmore county (actually bigger in 1940) was also getting a population flood when over a hundred government trailer houses were moved on to the old city tennis courts to supply housing for hundreds of railroad workers, brought in to the U.P. terminal town to keep the troop and supply trains running. Thousands of boys, many of who would soon give their lives in far off battlefields of the sky, and even a few stars. Jimmy Stewart even then a famous actor was training at Gowen Field and often came to Mtn. Home.

   Jerry and Sam Carrico were sleeping out the night of May 3rd, 1943. The two boys, ten and twelve years were in their blankets under the apple tree in the Carrico back yard about a block south of what is now American Legion Blvd. Jerry vividly recalls what happened early in the morning of may 4th. “Sam and I were asleep when I was woke-up by the sound of a big airplane. It was sounding like an old Model A hitting on two and then four cylinders – as you know, kinda like it was running out of gas. I looked up and saw this plane coming right over us and it looked like its engines were on fire, then there was a big boom as it exploded and fell straight down to the ground over by where the Beaches lived. It hit the ground and blew up. I think it broke all the windows in Beaches house and the top turret and guns fell through the roof of Kenny Pearce’s barn. Sam and me jumped up but were too scared to go over there and mom called us from the door to come into the house. In just a little while we heard the fire siren and the fire truck was there. Then some trucks came from the base. Next morning they had guards all around the crash and lots of soldiers were picking up pieces of the plane. One officer came around and asked us what we had heard and seen and wrote it down. Later we heard that Jimmy Stewart, the movie actor who was stationed at Gowen field came over. He was part of the investigation team that was looking to find out what caused the crash. Some of the guys in town had breakfast with Capt. Stewart that morning.”



These photos, taken on May 3rd, 1943, are from the actual crash site.


   The Boise Statesman newspaper for the morning of Tuesday, May 4, 1943 reiterates Carrico’s account and goes on to say that the wreckage was strewn over a half mile of the Morfield farm, that many residents had hurried to the crash and tried to get the men out. The story went on to say that only three bodies were recovered and the rest were “blown to bits” and lists the names and addresses of the eight airmen who were killed. Jerry kept the newspaper article and some pictures of the wreck.

   George McGovern, later a U.S. Senator, was just a young guy training to fly B-24’s, a plane that he would later fly from Italy across the Alps to bomb the fanatically defended Ploesti oil fields in Rumania, major oil supply for the Nazi Germany. The eminent author Stephen Ambrose in his book ‘The Wild Blue, The men and boys who flew the B-24s over Germany’ has succinctly written McGovern’s story of his war experiences. The book sketches McGovern and his crew’s training time and adventures at Mountain Home Army Air field in 1944 where they were among many hundreds of GI’s destined to fly in the tracer-filled, war-torn, deadly sky’s of Europe and Japan.

   McGovern related much of his training time at Mtn. Home to Ambrose including the following story on page 100 of “The Wild Blue”. “Once while flying in formation, McGovern’s squadron was practicing warding off attack. A two-engine B-25 (Could have been from Gowen Field?) dove on the B-24s. The B-24 pilot expects the B-25 to go under their formation, but instead the plane keeps coming and collided head-on with a Liberator. There was an explosion that took out two other B-24s. Four bombers were just gone. Fortunately they did not have full crews- only the gunners and the pilot – but twenty-four men were dead.” Local lore says that the planes fell on the desert southwest of the field, that bulldozers were sent out from the base to simply cover them over with dirt and that they are still there. (I heard many conflicting stories about this burial.) McGovern went on to tell of the anguish when the Base Chaplin went to the married men’s quarters with the list of those killed. The wives, already having heard of the catastrophe, and hearing the knock at her door would cry or scream when she saw the Chaplin standing there. The B-24s from Mountain Home went to Italy and by Dec. 6 ’44, McGovern was flying combat missions over Austria, pounding oil fields and refineries through heavy flak. Later he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for safely landing his badly shot up plane with two engines out and saving his crew.

   In late 1945 B-29s finally began using the long-thick runways at Mountain Home but the war was ending and by August ’45 it was all over. In just months the base was mostly de-activated with only a tiny crew to look over the tarpaper barracks and hangers and soon tumble weeds were the only thing rolling down the runways. In 1948 the base was again activated with the 5th Reconnaissance Group and on through the 50s the base had many Air Force missions including the Air Re-supply and Communications. It closed again and Bruce Hicks (who may have been the McGovern’s paperboy in ’44) said, “In ’53 I got a job hauling spuds from railcars in town and dumping them on the runways for Simplot to crush for cattle feed. We made sure that we cut only the strings and not the bags which were worth more than the spuds.” Bill Trueba was the first plane that landed before the Strategic Air Command arrived in May, ’53. Bill says, “We landed on the runway and taxied in and the first thing I remember about the base is that the tumble weeds had blown up in piles higher than the hangers and the tarpaper was flapping off all the building.” SAC brought back the B-29s but soon converted to B-47 Stratojet bombers with Atom Bombs. In 1959 during the very height of the Cold War the base became the headquarters for the 569th Strategic Missile Squadron, with three Titan missile sites, one south of Bruneau, one west of Grandview and another near Orchard. Anyone who ever saw these missiles above ground, pumped up and steaming from their liquid fuel loads, their atomic warhead gleaming in the sun, will never forget the eerie feeling they instilled.


The B-29 Superfortress is a four-engine propeller-driven heavy bomber designed by Boeing

that was flown primarily by the United States Air Forces in late-World War II and

through the Korean War.


The photo above is of a B-47 Stratojet as it sits on the ramp at Mountain Home AFB.

A true jet bomber it changed US airpower and was designed and built to last almost forever.

(photo courtesy Mountain Home Air Force Base)


A B-47 Stratojet taking off at Mountain Home AFB.

The Bennett Mountains can be seen in the background.


   In 1965 Tactical Air Command took over the base, the B-47s were gone, replaced by RF-4Cs and in ’66 the Titans were gone too. In 1970 TAC brought in F-111fs that stayed at the base until about 1991 when Mtn. Home Air Force Base became the HQ for the new Air Intervention Wing with F-15s and 16s. Then in 1996 the base got back to its origins with the stationing of B-1 bombers. Today the 366th Tactical Fighter Squadron is one of the most diverse with its mix of F-15s and 16s standing ready to defend America now 62 years after the sagebrush was plowed away.




F-111F at Mountain Home Air Force Base


Mountain Home AFB F-15s in flight


F-16 on a mission over Iraq.


An Air Force B-1B Lancer makes a high-speed pass. The pressure produced

by the aircraft's speed caused the water vapor around it to condense into a cloud.


   (History Note: Over the years there have been several ideas about renaming Mountain Home Air Force Base. The first was to name it “Richard Aguirre Air Force Base’ for Richard Aguirre, a local boy who was killed early in WWII. (He was the older brother of Domingo and Felip.) Later there was talk of naming it ‘John Kennedy Air Force Base’ after the assassinated President. It was only changed from Mountain Home Army Air Field to Mountain Home Air Force Base. JH)

Copyright 2004, John Hiler - September El-Wyhee Hi-Lites

Sources: Ambrose, The Wild Blue; Mountain Home Air Force Base History Section’ Life Magazine, July 25, 1938 and June 9, 1941; Hiler, Idaho Magazine; Statesman newspaper; Personal interviews, Jerry Carrico, Stephen Ambrose, Max Boesiger, Carol Mellen Mooney, Fred Latimore, Domingo Aguirre, John Moyer, Bruce Hicks, Bill Trueba.





Carl Ansel Miller and His Park

By Tomas Hiler



   His feet were soaked from the heavy rain the night before. Trenches and French roads torn to nothing; they were grateful to the artillery for two miles; the sun burned away the fog as the war began again.  It is now the morning of September 27th, 1918 and Captain Cornell leads Carl and Company D to a crossroads south of Mont Blainville. They looked up at the village perched on the bluff of the hill pointing like a finger toward the Aire River and the firing had started again.  The German machine gun nests stalled the advance and it was the morning of September 26th, 1918 in the fog of an early autumn dawn.  Mont Blainville, France was so far away from home. Carl lay restlessly absorbing the quiet that followed a three-hour artillery bombardment. He thinks: a year ago, he was on Main Street of Mountain Home working as a clerk for Montgomery Blunk & Co. He could see each train as it pulled into the depot and often wondered where all those people were going.  His friends would often stop by from High School to say hello. A twenty-one year old salesman; athletic, a scrappy ballplayer, unmarried and 5’7” tall.

   No man wanted to walk into their range, no man wanted to be skewered by their long bullets. Concentrating on staying low, their concentration was their prayer.  Suddenly they were on the road that came from the east and headed up the bluff to the village. Lt Flinn took his most trusted platoon; they eased up behind the last three Boche dugouts. The American soldiers through their hand grenades into the nests, the grenades were like baseballs and boy could they throw strikes. 

     Lt. Flinn opened a huge hole in the German lines at Mont Blainville in the Argonne Forest and word raced back to I Corps headquarters and reserve battalions began to march toward the hole in the front.  Suddenly the Americans knew they were going to win the war. The Boche dropped to their knees as they threw their weapons aside, they squealed for mercy.  The squad ceases fire; the turkey shoot was over.  Lt. Flinn captured some kind of a field grade officer and he gave Harry his binoculars.  The Prussian salutes and led his 37 surviving men in the company of an American private to the POW encampment 10 miles away. 

     Carl began thinking more and more about his Mom and Dad back in Mountain Home and about all of those basketball games that he played in high school.  In the wee hours of the morning of September 28th, 1918, Company D of the 158th waited to advance on the rosy fingers of dawn that greet the battle. It was hard going all morning, one kilometer across the Mont Blainville Plateau to the ravine that separated the hills that pointed like bloody fingers to the river.  It was almost noon and Lt. Flinn was coming up out of the ravine to begin the battle for the Apremont Plateau at the head of the American First Army advancing in the Argonne Forest in what would be the last battle of the Great War.  It was a hard hot autumn morning and Private Jennings was slammed back and down to the ground. A nest out ahead, higher up on the hill, swept the front with bullets every tenth one coated with phosphorus so the gunners could trace their aim. Carl Miller was the third group of stretcher-bearers to try to get Jennings (the others were killed trying) on the stretcher and back to the trench. A round had passed clean through him entering just below the “v” in his clavicle exiting halfway down his back.  There was a hole in the top of his right lung and Carl could hear that distinctive sound as the air was exiting his lung.  Carl Miller never made it back to the trench.  Moments later, he was killed instantly on September 28th, 1918 while trying to rescue that fallen comrade.

     Carl Ansel Miller, the youngest of three sons of Adam M. and Anna Bell (Guy) Miller of Mountain Home, was the first soldier from Mountain Home killed in the “Great War” (WWI). 

     After the railroad came in 1883 Southern Idaho began to grow and many plans for irrigation and agriculture, mining, cattle and sheep production were being put into effect. Again, there was a new migration to the northwest and growth was steady in Elmore County. Towns were laid out, schools were built, fraternal and social organizations flourished with a spirit of optimism for a wonderful life in the west. Carl Miller and his family came to Mountain Home during this time from Keystone, Keith County, Nebraska and were farmers. Carl’s Uncle William Miller enlisted in 1864 with the Indiana Infantry during the Civil War and was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) which was a fraternal organization composed of veterans of the Union Army who served in the American Civil War. (The GAR was among the first organized advocacy groups in American politics. It was succeeded by the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War).

     WWI was a war unlike any other, a slaughter that was on a scale unimaginable to this day.  The conflict had eradicated an entire generation of European men and devastated the land for decades. At the beginning of the 20th Century, the world was in a period of prosperity.  Military alliances began to stretch across the globe as the empires of Europe vied with each other for power. Then, an incident in the city of Sarajevo changed the world forever. The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and his wife Sophie touched off hostilities between Serbia and Austria-Hungary. Each one was throwing accusations at the other trying to place blame for the incident. Then Russia got involved on the side of Serbia, and Germany came in to Austria-Hungary's corner. Things thus began to spin out of control as more and more countries began to be drawn into the fray.  In the afternoon of August 4th, 1914, before anyone really knew what was happening, the first German soldier crossed into Belgium.

     On the first day of the War Elmore County men volunteered. Bennie Bruce was first, Harry Isaacs second. Then Charley Maxwell and Medric Labbee. Within a week more than a dozen. “In Camp and Trench”, the narrative journal of men and women of Elmore County who were in the service, lists 389 men and women who were in military service between 1917 and 1918. This is an amazing ten-percent of the total population of Elmore county. A biographical sketch of the person, where they are from and where they served follows many names listed in the journal. A copy of the journal is available for review at the Elmore County Historical Society Museum. Carl Miller while working as a clerk for Montgomery Blunk & Co. (Note:  Ernest Blunk was from Nebraska and it is most certain that since Carl Miller was also from Nebraska that this helped him acquire his job) in Mountain Home (290 Main Street where Lane’s Appliance & TV is now located) registered with the draft on June 5th, 1918 and a short time later left Mountain Home on June 24th, 1918 as captain of the contingent that entrained that day. He was at Camp Lewis for six weeks, a member of the 32nd Company, 8th B.M.; then he was transferred to Company D, 158th Infantry and sent to Camp Kearney, California; next he went to Camp Mills, New York, from which he sailed August 12th for Europe.  He was sent to the war front almost immediately and lost his life acting as a stretcher-bearer while trying to rescue a comrade in the Meuse-Argonne (Argonne Forest), September 28th, 1918. “There were eight or more boys from Elmore County on the first list who lost their lives in the war, three of them, Levi Kellogg, Thad Prince and William Miller having been killed in action.”

     The Meuse-Argonne (Argonne Forest) offensive, shared by the U.S. forces with the French 4th Army on the left, was the biggest operation and victory of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) in World War I. The bulk of the AEF had not gone into action until 1918. The Meuse-Argonne battle was the largest frontline commitment of troops by the U.S. Army in World War I, and also its deadliest. Command was coordinated, with some U.S. troops (e.g. the Buffalo Soldiers of the 92nd Infantry Division (United States) and the 93rd Infantry Division (United States)) attached and serving under French command.

     The combined Franco-American attack began on the morning of September 26th, 1918. Over the first five days the soldiers advanced nine miles, penetrating deeply into the German lines. It was during this time that Carl Miller lost his life. Carl was a “stretcher bearer” and would stand at the back of the field and then when signaled, would run with another soldier to the injured person, lift him onto it and then carry them back away to safety.  Stretcher-bearer’s were often targeted by the Nazzi’s. Carl was instantly killed on September 28th, 1918 near the town of Mont Blainville when he was trying to rescue a fallen comrade. 

     A letter from his captain in France to his mother gives an account of this brave soldier’s death. 

(Found in Trench and Camp, 1920.)


                                                                             FRANCE, December 13, 1918

Mrs. Miller:

     It is with sorrow; yet again it gives me pleasure to tell you that your son died a hero, in attempting to rescue a fallen comrade, after three other men of our company had been wounded trying the same.  Carl had been with us a short time and I had detailed him as a “stretcher-bearer”.  He was faithfully executing his duty, when instantly killed September 28th, 1918. 

     I myself was wounded September 28th and the lieutenant commanding the company at that time has given me all details and has also sent recommendations to the general about Carl’s bravery in action.

     All soldiers of the A.E.F. who died here are now buried in the same cemetery and each grave definitely marked, so that there will be no trouble in identifying and sending back home the bodies of those who paid the “Supreme Price.”  On September 28th, we were fighting in the Argonne Forest, near the town of Mt. Blainville.


I am very truly yours,

Capt. Joseph P. Cornell


     Mountain Home was greatly stirred by the news of Carl’s sacrifice and resolved that it should not go unhonored. On July 7th, 1919, less than a year after his death, Mountain Home let out bids for the purchase of $10,000 in bonds to finance the establishment of a Carl Miller Park.  The bonds were sold to Palmer Bond and Mortgage Company. 

     Two days later a meeting of the village board was called to appoint three park commissioners who, in turn, appointed two additional ones. The board named Will H. Gibson to serve for three years; J.D. Whitson, for two years; and W.H. Wilson, for one year.  Mrs. Watts and Mrs. John Caldwell were the other two pointed. This park board had its own meetings, but the record book cannot be found.

     In March of 1920 W.R. Filley took the contract to plow and clean up the park site. Lars Rasmussen had charge of additional cleaning up in July, and in August Joe Sulloway, Lars Rasmussen, and Joseph Zabriskie did more work; Lars Rasmussen continued in charge of the park for the summer and fall. On February 3, 1921 W.H. Wilson was appointed for three years to succeed himself.

     On April 5th, 1921 Will Gibson, who had drawn up the plans for the gravel walks, drive, bandstand, and rest room, submitted blueprints to the village board, which were accepted. One hundred and twenty dollars was spent for shrubbery and trees. The trees were from as many of the different states in the union as was possible. Of course, many did not live.

   C.A. Carlson was given the contract to build the bandstand and rest rooms in the spring of 1921. Twenty-two dollars more was spent for the shrubbery and trees then. In June considerably more work was done to the gravel and cement walks on the outside of the park.  Next came the installation of plumbing and a water foundation.  Finally the park plaque was engraved and a five-acre water right purchased from the Elmore Irrigation Company.

     On June 15th, 1921, Mrs. Will H. Gibson was sent to represent Mountain Home at a park convention in Salt Lake City. It was during this summer that the park was used as a tourist park. In September of the same year lights were put up.

     O.P. Hopson was given the task of being park caretaker in the summer of 1921 when seed purchased from Bennett Brothers was sown for the lawn.

   The tourist park ended its existence in November of the year it was inaugurated. The following year, in May, William Gastel became park tender, and more seed was purchased from the Bennett Seed Store for reseeding part of the park where the tourists had trampled down the young lawn. During July of that year swings and slides were purchased for the use of children visiting the park.

   On June 5th, 1923 J.W. Morton was appointed for a one year term expiring on October, 1924; R.R. Osborn, for a two-year term expiring October, 1925; and Mrs. J.W. Caldwell, for a two-year term expiring October, 1925. In May, 1925 J.W. Morton was reappointed for three years, dating from the expiration date of his former appointment, October, 1924.  In 1928 the curbing was put in around the park.

     During the mid 1940’s the city pool was completed at Carl Miller Park.  It was located underneath the current gazebo’s that are in the park closest to East Elementary. The kiddie pool was located where the playground equipment is today and the “cook shack” in the park was the pump house for the swimming pool. In the late 1960’s, the progressive citizens of Mountain Home applied for and received a B.O.R. grant and a local bond initiative that enabled the city to move the swimming pool to its current location at Richard Aguirre Park that was completed in 1970. The Carl Miller Swimming Pool had large cracks leaking an enormous amount of water into the ground.   

     On October 9th, 1961 Myrtle Prentice the Secretary of the Elmore County Historical Foundation sent a letter to the Mike Kosmata (City Clerk) and Mayor Philip W. Gridley requesting permission to erect a sign identifying the Carl Miller Park. Councilman Howard T. Ball, Donald V. Holtz, Lewis C. Wheeler and Fred E. Latimore voted unanimously for the sign to be erected. It was asked that the sign be placed high enough off of the ground as to discourage vandalism.  

   On Saturday November 13th, 1961 members of the Elmore County Historical Foundation, Inc., gathered at Carl Miller Park to pay tribute to the man for whom the park was built in memorium and to officially post a new marker on the park. 

   State Senator R.M. Wetherell was introduced by Foundation President Mrs. Ott Mertz.  In Wetherell’s talk he had this to say about Miller:

     “Today we are assembled here to again pay tribute to a young man who gave his life for his country. The Elmore County Historical Foundation became aware that there was no proper marker indicating in whose name this park was dedicated.  Through efforts of Mrs. Mertz, its capable president, the foundation vowed that proper identification be placed for all to see.  For just a moment I would like to give you a short history of this park and the man in whose honor it was named. Carl Miller gave his life for his country during the Argonne Forest encounter with the German Army.  He was killed while trying to rescue a fallen comrade.  There are many conflicting views as to the battle, which contributed most to the collapse of the Kaiser and is legions. History does record, however, the great resourcefulness and tenacity of the A.E.F. No army in the history of Europe had ever penetrated the Argonne Forest – the French said it was impossible. The Germans had not placed great fortifications in this area because they were of the same opinion. The American infantrymen, however, proved all were wrong. In 11 days this force advanced through the Argonne Forest under unbelievable combat conditions, took 26,000 prisoners and 450 artillery pieces. Carl Miller was one of these men.  Wetherell mentioned that Carl had been captain of the basketball team prior to his departure for the service. The park was built within a year after his death and dedicated to him. Carl is buried in Flanders Fields.

Photos and history of the park and Carl Miller




Richard Aguirre Park

Remembering a Local Hero

by Tomas Hiler




   Richard U. Aguirre was born in Boise, ID on March 19th, 1919 and was the oldest son of Domingo Aguirre and Juanita Urquidi who both emigrated through Ellis Island to the U.S. from Spain and came to Mountain Home via the railroad.  Domingo sold concrete during the construction of Barber Dam before meeting Juanita and then married on June 24th, 1918.  Domingo Sr. started a very large sheep business in and around Mountain Home that spanned from Bennett Mountain to the Prairie and back to the Snake River.

   Richard attended Mountain Home High School and participated in both football and track.  Domingo Jr. and Felip Aguirre (who are current Mountain Home Residents) were Richard’s younger brothers and they all practically grew up in the mountains, working on the family ranch on Deer Creek at Prairie.  Richard graduated from Mountain Home High School in 1937 and went to the University of Washington where his brother Domingo later joined him, and where both were members of the college track team.

   World War II began with the Japanese bombing of Americas’ main Pacific naval base at Pearl Harbor December 7th, 1941. Richard was a senior at the University of Washington and on December 31st, 1942, he and several of his friends immediately enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps. He did this without speaking to any of his family and it was certainly contrary to their wishes.  During most of 1942, Richard trained at Hamilton Field in San Francisco, CA.  Also during 1942, he met & married Margaret Dick, a Seattle girl. They married in Seattle and almost immediately Richard had to return to San Francisco to train with the 64th Bomber Squadron. 43rd Bomber Group – Heavy. Margaret and Richard had one daughter, Ricky Aguirre who was raised in Mountain Home and is currently married to Frank and with their family, live in Meridian. Richard never saw his beautiful daughter.

   Second Lieutenant Richard Aguirre was a Navigator and volunteered on the B-17E “Honi Kuu Okole” #41-9244 when that group was sent to the South Pacific on a night bombing flight.  Night missions of this type were not unusual.  For the first hour, as the B-17 bomber droned toward the target, the mood was somewhat relaxed.  The only task for the crew was to stay alert for surface craft.  The bombardier, M/Sgt. Gordon Manuel, had the best vantage point through the clear glass nose, while 2nd Lieutenants John S. Rippy, copilot, and Richard U. Aguirre, navigator, watched with major Williams from the flight deck.

   The final hour before reaching Rabaul put them within range of Japanese fighters, and the gunners readied their weapons. Sergeants Larry L. Rexroat and Robert A. Curry watched from their waist-gunners’ positions, to the sides and slightly upward in the area where an attacking fighter often began a pass.  Sgt. Joe Murray, in the tail-gunner’s compartment, watched closely to catch a reflection that might come from a fighter closing in from behind.  Pfc. Bill M. Smith in the belly turret watched to all sides as he had learned that the most difficult location in which to spot another aircraft at night was against the Horizon, the darkest part of the sky.  So far, the sky seemed clear of fighters. Their mission was to bomb the Japanese planes dispersed over the Vunakanau Airport. The “Honi Kuu Okole” had 14-400lb bombs onboard. They were wrapped in wire and were rigged to explode about 100 feet above the ground so that they would take out all of the Japanese aircraft sitting at the runway.

   The Americans had no idea that the Japanese had secretly developed the J1N1 Night Fighter and its attack came as a complete surprise to the Americans. They knew they would be tracked from the ground by radar, but the J1N1 caught them unaware. These new planes could fly in the dark of the night, sneaking in underneath the B-17’s and fire straight up into the planes.  The B17’s were defenseless because they could not shoot what they could not see.

   At 3:48am May 21st, 1943, Richard Aguirre’s B-17 along with 7 others that were staggered 20 minutes apart arrived at its initial point over the Warangoi River for its bombing run against the Vunakanau Airfield on Rabaul. A J1N1 Irving (nicknamed the “Dinah” by the Americans) piloted by Shigetoshi Kudo, maneuvered below the B-17 and opened fire with its obliquely mounted 20mm cannons. Suddenly, the B17 was hammered from below and Sgt. Bob Giles, the flight engineer, shouted on the intercom that the number 3 and 4 engines were on fire. Before Williams was able to feather the propellers, the stricken aircraft absorbed additional damage from the enemy cannonade. Now, number 1 and 2 engines were also on fire and the situation was desperate. Williams banked the bomber steeply to the right to head for the open sea and away from the Japanese-held territory so to attempt a water landing.  But the fire spread to the bomb bay, where the incendiaries ignited.  Once the plane had been hit the second time by this J1N1, bombardier Master Sergeant Gordon Manuel (with all on-board radio communication lost) released all of the bombs to lighten the load and to keep the plane from exploding and help with the anticipated water landing. Unfortunately the crew was carrying a lot of incendiaries in the radio cabin and a 20mm explosive had hit them and they were all burning at a “white” heat. Four of the crew, including Richard were trying to shield their faces with their arms from the terrible heat. (The flame from an incendiary will go through an armor plate.) Richard Aguirre was in the radio cabin sitting on the floor, nursing his wounds and trying to take off his parachute after he had been hit by the exploding incendiaries. The pilot was going to try a water landing and the   parachute would weight him down and he knew he had to get it off. Williams had run out of alternatives and he now tripped the guarded switch turning on the emergency alarm bell, and ordered “BAIL OUT, NOW!”

   The plane then let out a big “sigh” and started to nose dive at a 45-degree angle.  One member of the crew (John S. Rippy) parachuted out at 5,000 feet and Master Sergeant Gordon Manuel didn’t parachute out until about 500 feet but his parachute didn’t open until about 200ft above the water. Richard Aguirre either died from his wounds from the incendiaries or was too injured to put his parachute back on when the plane started to nose dive at 5,000 feet making a water landing was no longer possible. All other members of the flight perished under the waters of the South Pacific when the plane hit the water, the tremendous force ripping the tail and wing off and it immediately sank.

   M/Sgt Gordon Manuel who had parachuted out at 500 feet and landed in the sea, made it to shore north of Induna Island near the mouth of the Kambubu River and Matala Plantation and was able to evade capture and, with the help of the local natives who were allies of the Americans, survived behind enemy lines in the Put Put area. Later, Manuel joined a group of Australian Coastwatcher’s and other downed Allied aviators. They were rescued at Open Bay on February 5, 1944 by the USS Gato; Returning to duty M/Sgt. Gordon Manuel was the sole survivor of the Honi Kuu Okole crew. He later wrote an amazing book (“70,000 to 1”) detailing his experiences avoiding capture and living with the natives until he was rescued.  In late 1949, the War Department called the Aguirre’s living in Mountain Home and told them to go down to the Mountain Home Railroad depot to see Gordon Manuel who was coming through on a Hospital Train. Domingo and Felip Aguirre met the train but before they got to see Manuel a Nurse came out and said that he was too sick to have any visitors and that they would not allow the Aguirre’s to visit with the only survivor of the plane crash.  Manuel passed away in 1950 and the Aguirre family never got to talk with him regarding their brother, Richard.

     2nd Lt John S Rippy who parachuted first and landed in the seas, made it to shore south of Induna Island and north of Talilis Plantation. Captured by the Japanese, he was transported to Rabaul where he was imprisoned at the Japanese Navy POW camp. On November 25, 1943 he was executed along with four crewmen from another downed plane.

     2nd Lieutenant Richard Aguirre was listed as MIA (Missing in Action) on May 21st, 1943 and his body was never recovered. Richard received the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters & the Purple Heart for his many missions and for his bravery in WWII. The entire crew, including Richard Aguirre (aside from Manuel who survived) is memorialized on the Tablets of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery in Manila, Philippines.

    Although Richard, Domingo and Felip practically grew up on the Prairie Ranch, their home ranch was just north of town and their original family home was located near the present Les Schwab Tire Center on Airbase Road, a beautiful stone home very reminiscent of their Basque heritage. Richards’s brother Domingo later graduated from the University of Washington.  It was Richard that convinced his brother Domingo to go to college and to get an education.  Domingo says, “Richard was strong-willed and strong physically and was the tallest of the three brothers at 6’2. When he spoke, we listened; what a man he was”.  Brother Domingo wishes he would have intervened in Richard’s decision to go into the war and had him stay home to help their father with the family ranch.  (Ranchers were exempt from the War.)  Domingo later tried to enlist but was sent home because he was seen as “Mountain Man”.  Domingo explained, “You would have to be his brother to truly understand why he entered the war so soon after it began. Richard was ‘straight & tall’, ‘dark and handsome and ‘very strong’. Richard, at 18, accepted strength challenges that were unsurpassed. In the service he was a “Top Fighter” never to lose.  Richard inherited a quality that our father had -qualities that helped build a sheep ranch against all odds. Richard lost his battle in the war but believe me, he is still counted. He could run like the deer at the Prairie Mountains. He is still there with his mother and daddy, I know”.

   On Thursday May 27th, 1943, Richards name appeared on the front page of the Mountain Home Republican Newspaper as “Missing in Action”. No details were added about his mission or how he was killed. This newspaper article that you are now reading could be the first one written since his death and outlining the details of our heroic local resident who was the first person from Mountain Home killed in World War II.

     On August 17th, 1961 it was announced in the Mountain Home News, by then Mayor Phil Gridley, that a new 12-acre, much-needed city park for Mountain Home would be put in due to the efforts of the Mayor and City Council. Options on the property of Walt Kunneke, Ralph Pierce and Fae Brines were taken in exchange of deeds made with Royal Cochran, and property was purchased for them from Max Boesiger and Florence Conboy. Mayor Gridley said that the present water main ran through the proposed park. Mayor Gridley asked for assistance of local contractors, as well as the Army Reserve unit, for help in the leveling of the property and road building that was necessary. This park provided an opening of East 10th North from North 14th East through to the State Highway. Mayor Gridley ended his statement by saying that he will propose that the park be named after Richard Aguirre. 

   Later the progressive citizens of Mountain Home passed a bond issue and the present swimming pool was built, recreation equipment was installed and the park was completed with a Bureau of Outdoor Recreation Grant and City of Mountain Home funding and ‘in-lieu’ matching work by City crews. As a stipulation of the BOR Grant, Richard Aguirre Park was perpetually dedicated to Public Outdoor Recreation for the citizens of the City. The swimming pool first opened on June 6th, 1969. The City Recreation Director at that time was Maurice Townsend and his assistant was Bud Light. Bob Cromar was hired as the first pool manager. All three of these individuals are still reside in Mountain Home.

Photos and history of the park and Richard Aguirre