Barnes Air National Guard Base
|Barnes Air National Guard Base|
|Part of Massachusetts Air National Guard (MA ANG)|
|Located near: Westfield, Massachusetts|
|An F-15 Eagle from the 104th Fighter Wing, Massachusetts Air National Guard takes off from Barnes Air National Guard Base|
|Controlled by||United States Air Force|
|Garrison||104th Fighter Wing|
|IATA: BAF – ICAO: KBAF – FAA LID: BAF|
|Elevation AMSL||271 ft / 83 m|
|Source: Federal Aviation Administration|
- See: Barnes Municipal Airport for civil airport information
Barnes Air National Guard Base is located on the northern side of Westfield in an area known as Hampden Plains. This flat area has been used by Massachusetts as a military training area going back to at least 1905. In the late Summer of 1917, this plain was used as a Troop Staging Area where various Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine Militia Units were reformed into the 102nd, 103rd, and 104th regiments to be shipped to France during World War I. The Air National Guard began its history at Barnes Airport in October 1946.
World War II
During World War II young men from the Massachusetts State College received flight training at the airport before being shipped off to various war sites. The field operated as Outlying Landing Field Westfield as a Naval Outlying Landing Field located from 1942 to 1945. It existed as an outlying field of Naval Air Station Quonset Point and was used by student pilots to gain flight experience on its three 5,000 foot bituminous concrete runways.
Soon after, the Air National Guard was formed and its presence was soon established at Barnes. The Air National Guard first began using P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft, but soon began using the P-51 Mustang after Runway 2/20 was extended from 5,000 to 7,000 feet (2,100 m). Barnes received jet aircraft when the Air National Guard began to operate F-94 Starfire aircraft.
Up until September 2007, the 131st Fighter Squadron (131 FS), 104th Fighter Wing (104 FW) of the Massachusetts Air National Guard at Westfield operated the A-10 Thunderbolt II. There were 25 A-10's based at Barnes until they were realigned through the DoD's Base Realignment and Closure of 2005. As a result of BRAC, the 104th changed its mission from Close Air Support to Air Superiority and its A-10 aircraft were redistributed to other fighter units. The 104 FW has now received 15 F-15 Eagles from the former 102nd Fighter Wing, now the 102nd Intelligence Wing of the Massachusetts Air National Guard at Otis ANGB, with the 104 FW continuing to remain operationally-gained by the Air Combat Command (ACC).
- FAA Airport Master Record for BAF ( PDF), retrieved 2007-03-15
- 104th Fighter Wing homepage
- "Massachusetts Naval Air Bases, Coast Guard Bases, Military & Auxiliary Air Fields 1923-1945". Massachusetts Aviation Historical Society. 2011. Retrieved 26 June 2014.