Westover Joint Air Reserve Base

Westover Joint Air Reserve Base

"For the civil airport use of this facility, see Westover Metropolitan Airport"Infobox Airport
name = Westover Air Reserve Base / Metropolitan
Formerly Westover Air Force Base

type = Military
owner = Air Force Reserve Command
operator =
city-served = Springfield, Massachusetts
location = Chicopee, Massachusetts Ludlow, Massachusetts Granby, Massachusetts
elevation-f = 241
elevation-m = 73
coordinates = coord|42|11|38|N|072|32|05|W|type:airport|display=inline
website =
r1-number = 5/23
r1-length-f = 11,597
r1-length-m = 3,535
r1-surface = Asphalt
r2-number = 15/33
r2-length-f = 7,082
r2-length-m = 2,159
r2-surface = Asphalt
stat-year = 1994
stat1-header = Aircraft operations
stat1-data = 38,137
stat2-header = Based aircraft
stat2-data = 46
footnotes = Source: Federal Aviation AdministrationFAA-airport|ID=CEF|use=PU|own=MA|site=09304.02*A, retrieved 2007-03-15]

Westover Air Reserve Base / Metropolitan airport codes|CEF|KCEF|CEF is an Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC) airport located in the Massachusetts communities of Chicopee, Granby, and Ludlow, near the city of Springfield, Massachusetts. Westover hosts the largest Air Reserve Base in the world, is a backup landing site for the NASA Space Shuttle and in the past few years as expanded to include a growing civilian access airport sharing Westover's military-maintained runways [ [http://www.strategic-air-command.com/bases/Westover_AFB.htm Westover AFB, Mass - 99th Bomb Wing - B-52 - NEED INFO ] ] . The installation was named for Major General Oscar Westover, commanding officer of the Army Air Corps in the 1930s, killed in the crash of his high-speed Northrop A-17AS, "36-349", c/n 289, in a crosswind short of the runway at Lockheed Aircraft's air field in Burbank, California, now known as Bob Hope Airport, on 21 September 1938. [Bowers, Peter M., "Captain of the Clouds", Airpower, Granada Hills, California, July 1972, Volume 2, Number 4, page 33.] The host unit is the 439th Airlift Wing (439 AW) of the Twenty-Second Air Force (22 AF), Air Force Reserve Command. Outside of the AFRC command structure, the 439 AW and Westover are operationally gained by the Air Mobility Command (AMC).

Joint Use Mission

The Westover complex serves the "Joint Use" mission of military and civilian cooperation. The core aviation facilities at Westover are owned by the Department of Defense while nearly a hundred acres are under private ownership. The two parties coordinate operations in order to promote national defense and economic development. The 11,597 foot and 7082 foot long runways provide the flexibility for significant separation between military and civilian operations.


Westover Field was created by a war-readiness appropriation signed by president Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939. It became the largest military air facility in the Northeast during the course of World War II. The post-war Berlin Airlift was based in large part at Westover.

It was renamed Westover Air Force Base after that Air Force's creation as a separate service and became instrumental in waging the Cold War. The Eighth Air Force (8 AF) was headquarterd at Westover from 13 June 1955 until 1 January 1975, when it relocated to Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, replacing SAC's Second Air Force (2 AF). On 4 September 1956, the 99th Bombardment Wing, Heavy (99 BMW) took up residence at Westover, operating the B-52C Stratofortress and KC-135A Stratotanker, and would continue as the host wing at Westover until its deactivation on 31 March 1974. As a former Strategic Air Command (SAC) B-52 and KC-135 base and former home to Headquarters, 8th Air Force, Westover was one of the Soviet Union's top targets during the Cold War. [http:www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/agency/sac.htm] SAC constructed a secret underground bunker several miles away in Amherst, Massachusetts to support 8 AF and coordinate Westover's operations during a nuclear war. The command post was linked to the main base by buried cables and microwave antennae. U-2 spy plane film used during the Cuban Missile Crisis was also developed at Westover.

Westover was a base of operations for the Air Force during Korean Conflict, the Vietnam War and the Cold War. Eight fully-armed nuclear bombers and tankers stood ready in "Christmas Tree" formation at the base's Alert Facility to scramble if a conflict broke out with the Soviet Union.

In 1974, as the last Vietnam War veterans stepped onto Westover's tarmac, the base was turned over to the Air Force Reserve.

Current military operations at Westover Joint Air Reserve Base are centered around its exceptionally long runways. The Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC) uses Westover for its largest cargo and bomber planes. It maintains a fleet of sixteen C-5 Galaxy aircraft operated by the 439th Airlift Wing (439 AW), an Air Force Reserve unit that is operationally gained by the Air Mobility Command (AMC). In 2003, the Air Force Reserve Command briefly changed the name of Westover Air Reserve Base to that of Westover Joint Air Reserve Base. It has since been renamed to its previous designation of Westover Air Reserve Base as a military installation and is referred to as Westover Air Reserve Base / Metroplitan in DoD and FAA Flight Information Publications (FLIP). [ [http://www.westover.afrc.af.mil/ Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass - Home ] ]

Physically, Westover is currently the largest Air Force Reserve base in the United States and will expand significantly over the next decade to further encompass Active and Reserve Component activities of the Navy, Marines, Army, and mainline Air Force functions from installations closed by the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process.

Associated Units

439th Airlift Wing

*439th Operations Group
**337th Airlift Squadron
**439th Aerospace Medicine Squadron
**439th Aeromedical Staging Squadron
**439th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron
**439th Operations Support Squadron
**439th Airlift Control Flight
*439th Maintenance Group
**439th Maintenance Squadron
**439th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
**439th Maintenance Operations Squadron
*439th Mission Support Group
**439th Mission Support Squadron
**439th Services Squadron
**439th Communications Squadron
**439th Logistics Readiness Squadron
**439th Civil Engineering Squadron
**439th Security Forces Squadron
**58th Aerial Port Squadron
**42nd Aerial Port Squadron

Air Force Auxiliary

*Westover Composite Squadron, Civil Air Patrol


*287th Medical Detachment, 804th Medical Brigade


*Headquarters, 25th Marines Regiment
*Marine Wing Support Squadron 472, Detachment
*Marine Air Support Squadron-6
*Machine Gun Platoon, Support Company, Anti-Terrorism Battalion, 4th Marine Division

All Services

*Springfield Military Entrance Processing Station
*302nd Combat Support Brigade


The 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission ruled that Westover would absorb other military units in New England. The expansion includes the transfer of all military operations at Bradley International Airport to Westover and the nearby Barnes Municipal Airport. The exception to this decision is the 103rd Airlift Wing, which will remain at Bradley. A $32 million building project is underway to accommodate the additional 1600 service members required by the plan. [ [http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2008/03/groundbreaking_held_for_new_re.html Groundbreaking held for new reserve center - MassLive.com ] ]

The new Armed Forces Reserve Center will host Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy Reserve operations. The Massachusetts Army National Guard will also make its debut at the base. [http://www.masslive.com/republican/stories/index.ssf?/base/news-2/1206429609281870.xml&coll=1 Westover project good for economy - MassLive.com ] ]

Economic Impact

The air base is one of the biggest employers in the Springfield area and produces an estimated $200 million in economic activity at current levels. Much of base's extensive landholdings have been sold as surplus and developed into industrial parks for tenants such as Friendly Ice Cream.

The local government credits Westover with spurring development of the Memorial Drive corridor, including several planned hotels and a high-end retail plaza.

Facilities and aircraft

The Westover complex covers an area of 2,500 acres (10 km²) which contains two runways: 5/23: measuring 11,597 x 301 ft (3,535 x 92 m) and 15/33 measuring 7,082 x 150 ft (2,159 x 46 m). A new Air Traffic Control tower was constructed in 2002 and the old tower was demolished.

According to FAA records for the 12-month period ending September 26, 1994, the airport had 38,137 aircraft operations, an average of 104 per day: 81% military, 18% general aviation and 1% air taxi. There were 46 aircraft based at this airport: 35% military, 50% single engine, 9% multi-engine, 2% jet aircraft, 2% helicopters and 2% ultralight.

Military facilities are under control of the commanding officer, currently Col. Robert R. Swain Jr. [ [http://www.westover.afrc.af.mil/library/biographies/bio.asp?id=8379 Biographies : Col. Robert R. Swain Jr. ] ] . The civilian portion of the airport is run by the Director of Civil Aviation, an employee of the Westover Metropolitan Corporation.

See also

* Massachusetts World War II Army Airfields
* Eastern Air Defense Force (Air Defense Command)


External links

* [http://www.westover.afrc.af.mil/ Westover Air Reserve Base] (official site)

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