Westover Air Reserve Base

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Westover Air Reserve Base
AFR Shield.svg
Part of Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC)
Located near: Chicopee, Massachusetts
C-5 Galaxy at Westover Air Reserve Base.jpg
A Westover C-5B Galaxy taxies in from a local training mission
Westover ARB is located in Massachusetts
Westover ARB
Westover ARB
Location of Westover Air Reserve Base, Massachusetts
Coordinates Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
Site information
Controlled by  United States Air Force
Site history
Built 1939
In use 1939 – present
Garrison information
Garrison 439th Airlift Wing.jpg 439th Airlift Wing
Airfield information
Elevation AMSL 241 ft / 73.5 m
Website www.westover.afrc.af.mil
Direction Length Surface
ft m
5/23 11,597 3,535 Asphalt/Concrete
15/33 7,082 2,159 Asphalt/Concrete

Westover Air Reserve Base (IATA: CEFICAO: KCEFFAA LID: CEF) is an Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC) installation located in the Massachusetts communities of Chicopee and Ludlow, near the city of Springfield, Massachusetts. Westover hosts the largest Air Reserve Base in the world in terms of area. Until 2011, it was a backup landing site for the NASA Space Shuttle and in the past few years has expanded to include a growing civilian access airport sharing Westover's military-maintained runways.[2] The installation was named for Major General Oscar Westover who was commanding officer of the Army Air Corps in the 1930s.[3]

The host unit is the 439th Airlift Wing (439 AW) of the Fourth Air Force (4 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).

Due to its location as one of the few remaining active military air bases in the northeast United States, Westover ARB is transitted by many different U.S. military aircraft of all the services.[4]


439th Airlift Wing:

337th Airlift Squadron

Civil Air Patrol:

U.S. Army Reserve:

  • 302d Maneuver Enhancement Brigade
  • 287th Medical Detachment, 804th Medical Brigade
  • 226th Transportation Company (Railway Operating)(assigned to the 757th Transportation Battalion (Railway),[5] Milwaukee, WI)


  • Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 27

Marine Corps:

  • Marine Wing Support Squadron 472, Detachment B
  • Marine Air Support Squadron 6

Military Entry Processing Command (DOD):

  • Springfield Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS)


The field was constructed in anticipation of World War II.[6]

In 1951, Air Defense Command arrived, but then turned over the base in 1955 to Strategic Air Command, which sent the 4050th, later 499th Air Refueling Wing, to operate from the base. The 99th Bombardment Wing arrived in 1956. In case of nuclear war, an alternate SAC command bunker, called The Notch, was constructed deep within Bare Mountain, in the Connecticut River Valley of western Massachusetts.[6]

Air Force Reserve

A C-123K Provider (731st Tactical Airlift Squadron) and a C-130B Hercules (337th Tactical Airlift Squadron) are in front of the Westover Air Force Base Hangar for a 1977 publicity photo.

The 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission ruled that Westover would absorb other military units in New England. The expansion proposed 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.[7]

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.[8]

The base celebrated its 75th anniversary with an air show on May 16-17, 2015, where the Blue Angels headlined the 2015 Great New England Air Show. During this time, it was announced that the Westover was in the running for a squadron of the new KC-46A Pegasus. Later that year, it was announced that the base would not be receiving the plane, which instead was given to the 916th Air Refueling Wing at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. Westover was also in competition with Tinker Air Force Base and Grissom Air Reserve Base for the plane.[9]

The local government credits Westover with spurring development of the Memorial Drive corridor, including several planned hotels and a high-end retail plaza.[8]

Environmental impact

As a center for military air operations, Westover Air Reserve Base poses several hazards to local residents. These include air pollution, noise pollution, and water contamination hazards – all of which are shared with similar-sized commercial airports.[10]

Water contamination

However, Westover's extended operations history has produced numerous hazardous waste sites.[11]

Facilities and aircraft

The portion of the Westover complex still under military control 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).[12] A new Air Traffic Control tower was constructed in 2002 and the old tower was demolished.

According to Federal Aviation Authority records for the 12-month period ending 26 September 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.[1]

Military facilities are under control of the Commander, 439th Airlift Wing, currently Colonel Albert Lupenski.[13] The civilian portion of the airport is run by the Director of Civil Aviation, an employee of the Westover Metropolitan Corporation.

Previous names

Major commands to which assigned

Major units assigned

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 FAA Airport Master Record for CEF (Form 5010 PDF), effective 2011-07-30
  2. Westover AFB, Mass – 99th Bomb Wing – B-52 – NEED INFO
  3. Bowers, Peter M., "Captain of the Clouds", Airpower, Granada Hills, California, July 1972, Volume 2, Number 4, page 33.
  4. "Presidential aircraft parked temporarily at Westover". 439th Airlift Wing Public Affairs. 25 September 2012. Archived from the original on 2015-07-17. Retrieved 2015-07-17.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. http://www.history.army.mil/html/forcestruc/lineages/branches/trans/0757trbn.htm
  6. 6.0 6.1 Faulkner, Frank (January 1990). Westover: Man, Base and Mission (1st ed.). Springfield, Mass.: Hungry Hill Press. p. 160. ISBN 0-9616486-1-9. |access-date= requires |url= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Groundbreaking held for new reserve center – MassLive.com
  8. 8.0 8.1 Westover project good for economy – MassLive.com
  9. Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs (29 October 2015). "Seymour-Johnson chosen for first Reserve-led KC-46A basing". Air Force Reserve Command. Retrieved 14 January 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "ALLEY CITIZENS FOR A SAFE ENVIRONMENT, Plaintiff, Appellant, v. Edward C. ALDRIDGE, etc., et al., Defendants, Appellees".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Westover Air Force Base". Hampshire College, Amherst, Mass.: Military Waste Cleanup Project, Institute for Science and Interdisciplinary Studies. Retrieved 30 June 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. FAA Airport Master Record for CEF (Form 5010 PDF), retrieved 2007-03-15
  13. http://www.westover.afrc.af.mil/AboutUs/Biographies/Display/tabid/141/Article/555528/colonel-albert-v-lupenski.aspx

External links