Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove
|NAS JRB Willow Grove|
NAS Willow Grove in the 1940s
|IATA: NXX – ICAO: KNXX – FAA LID: NXX|
|Airport type||Military: Naval Air Station|
|Owner||United States Navy|
|Location||Horsham Twp, Pennsylvania|
|Elevation AMSL||335 ft / 109 m|
Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove or NASJRB Willow Grove (IATA: NXX, ICAO: KNXX, FAA LID: NXX) was a Naval Air Station owned by the U.S. Navy and located in Horsham Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, United States four miles (6 km) northwest of the central business district of Willow Grove, which is north of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The installation was transferred to the Pennsylvania Air National Guard and the name changed to the Horsham Air Guard Station after the U.S. Navy departed in 2011.
Flight activity began here in 1926 when Harold Frederick Pitcairn constructed a hangar and a grass airstrip in Horsham, Pennsylvania. The name "Willow Grove" came from the nearest town. At the time, Horsham was a rural township with little significance. From 1926 to 1942 Pitcairn used the airfield for design, construction and testing of a number of aircraft, including the Mailwing which was used by the United States Postal Service.
After the start of World War II, the United States purchased the property, under threat of eminent domain. (9), and launched a classified anti-submarine warfare program at the base. Following WWII and into the Cold War, it became an operational and training base for aviation activities of the Naval Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard, Army Reserve and Army National Guard. As part of its joint recruitment efforts, the base was an annual host to one of the largest air shows on the East Coast until 2006.
Horsham ANGS is home to the following:
- 111th Fighter Wing (111 FW), Pennsylvania Air National Guard. The 111 FW no longer operates the A-10 Thunderbolt II and is slated to acquire ground control stations to remotely fly the MQ-9 Reaper. The 111th functions as the host wing for the installation.
- 201st RED HORSE Squadron (201 RHS), Pennsylvania Air National Guard
- 270th Engineering Installation Squadron (270 EIS), Pennsylvania Air National Guard
- The Liberty Bell Squadron of the United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps
- Group 3 Headquarters of Pennsylvania Wing Civil Air Patrol.
The former NAS JRB Willow Grove was most recently home to the following military aviation units:
- Marine Aircraft Group 49 headquarters and HMH-772 of the Marine Air Reserve's 4th Marine Aircraft Wing, the latter operating the CH-53E Super Stallion. Both MAG-49 and HMH-772 relocated to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in 2011.
- Fleet Logistic Squadrons 52 (VR-52) and 64 (VR-64) of the Naval Air Reserve, operating the C-9 Skytrain II and C-130T Hercules, respectively. Both VR-52 and VR-64 relocated to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in March 2011.
- 913th Airlift Wing (913 AW) of the Air Force Reserve Command. The 913 AW was inactivated by BRAC action on 30 September 2007.
Base Realignment and Closure
On May 28, 2005, the Base Realignment and Closure commission recommended that NAS JRB Willow Grove be closed as part of the 2005 BRAC round, that the tenant Air Force Reserve Command airlift wing be inactivated and that Navy Reserve and Marine Corps Reserve flying units relocate to McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey as tenant units.
On September 30, 2007, pursuant to direction of BRAC 2005, the Air Force Reserve Command disestablished the 913th Airlift Wing at the collocated Willow Grove ARS, redistributing its C-130 Hercules aircraft to other active duty Air Force and Air Force Reserve units.
On February 29, 2008, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania released a report detailing a plan for a joint interagency installation (JII), with a mission of national defense, homeland security and emergency preparedness. However, on November 13, 2009, Pennsylvania dropped the plan for the JII based on the gradual removal of the 111th Fighter Wing. Future plans for the base include using a portion for the National Guard and other Reserve Component military personnel. 
Currently, the 111th Fighter Wing, operating the A-10 Thunderbolt II, has lost all its aircraft to other ANG Squadrons under BRAC; the unit will take on a new role (so far undecided) in the near future. The unit will no longer operate aircraft.
Final closure of NAS JRB Willow Grove occurred on September 15, 2011. The Pennsylvania Air National Guard is expected to take custody, and the facility will be designated Willow Grove Air National Guard Base. A handful of National Guard and Army Reserve soldiers will remain, and the Air Force will maintain administrative offices on the property. The surplus land containing the runways will be turned over to Horsham Township for redevelopment; Horsham and other adjoining townships in Montgomery and Bucks Counties are currently debating the nature of this redevelopment.
- NAS JRB Willow Grove, official web site
- FAA Airport Master Record for NXX ( PDF), effective 2007-12-20
- "streets.gif." Horsham Township, Pennsylvania. Retrieved on January 25, 2009.
- "Air Force Selects Horsham's 111th Fighter Wing for New High-Tech Mission". PR Newswire. March 19, 2013. Retrieved 4 October 2013.
- [dead link]
- Welcome to VP-64. Home of the Condors!
- Willow Grove sees final departures - Philly.com
- Willow Grove site a gift, and a burden, for Horsham - Philly.com
(9) Harold F. Pitcairn By Carl F. Gunther, Legacy of Wings ( The Harold F. Pitcairn Story) by Frank Kingston Smith
- Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove
- Joint Interagency Installation Implementation Plan for Willow Grove/Horsham[dead link]
- Horsham Township Land Reuse Authority
- (PDF), effective July 23, 2015
- Resources for this U.S. military airport: