Stewart Air National Guard Base
|Stewart Air National Guard Base|
|Part of New York Air National Guard (NY ANG)|
|Town of Newburgh / New Windsor, near Newburgh, New York|
105th Airlift Wing unloading a C-5 Galaxy at Stewart ANGB
Location of Stewart Air National Guard Base, New York
|Controlled by||United States Air Force|
|Garrison||105th Airlift Wing|
Stewart Air National Guard Base is the home of the 105th Airlift Wing (105 AW), an Air Mobility Command (AMC)-gained unit of the New York Air National Guard and "host" wing for the installation. The former Stewart Air Force Base is also known as Newburgh-Stewart IAP and Stewart International Airport, while the military portion of this now-joint civil-military airport is known as Stewart Air National Guard Base (Stewart ANGB). The base is named in honor of 19th century Scottish-born sea captain, Lachlan Stewart, and his son, who donated the land it now occupies.
Located in the Town of Newburgh, New York. The 105th Airlift Wing's mission is to provide peacetime and wartime inter-theater airlift operations using the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III. Newburgh is approximately 60 miles (97 km) north of New York City, NY and 100 miles (160 km) due south of Albany, the capital of New York State. The air national guard base encompasses 267 acres (107 ha) and contains 36 buildings, amounting to approximately 757,000 square feet (68,130 m²). There is no family or transient military housing, with military personnel residing outside of a 50 miles (80 km) radius normally being billeted in nearby hotels and motels under military contract arrangements.
The day-to-day military population of Stewart ANGB is approximately 660 full-time Air National Guard personnel, both Air Reserve Technician (ART) and Active Guard and Reserve (AGR) personnel, plus approximately 150 additional active duty Army, AGR Army Reserve and AGR Army National Guard, active duty Marine Corps and Active Reserve Marine Corps personnel. This is further augmented on a daily basis by a fluctuating number of over 3,000 additional traditional, part-time Air National Guard, Army National Guard, Army Reserve and Selected Marine Corps Reserve (SMCR) personnel. Because of the operational flying missions, most of the personnel of the Air National Guard, the Army National Guard, the Army Reserve and the Marine Corps Reserve are funded for, and perform, additional military duty in either a drilling status or an active duty status far in excess of the typical ground-based reserve or national guard unit. For example, on at least one weekend each month, the 105 AW's population surges to over 1,600 personnel in response to the monthly required Air National Guard unit training assembly (UTA), attended by nearly all of the 105 AW's personnel.
Stewart ANGB and the 105 AW also host a site of the C-5 Aircrew Training System [ATS], which provides assured aircrew ground training that is concurrent with the C-5 weapon system and its operating procedures for regular Air Force, Air Force Reserve Command and Air National Guard C-5 flight crews in the northeastern and mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The ATS includes total contractor training with instructors, courseware, aircrew training devices (ATD), computer based training (CBT) and instructor based training (IBT). A contract was awarded to FlightSafety Services Corporation (FSSC), Englewood CO, on 5 May 1999, and the basic contract delivered a new C-5 Weapon Systems Trainer (WST) to Stewart ANGB with spares.
In 1988, the United States Marine Corps became a tenant of the Stewart ANGB with the establishment of Marine Air Refueler and Transport Squadron FOUR FIVE TWO (VMGR-452) and Marine Aircraft Group 49 (MAG-49), Detachment Bravo. A Marine Corps Reserve unit of the 4th Marine Aircraft Wing, VMGR-452 operated KC-130T Hercules aircraft available for world-wide tasking in support of Marine Expeditionary Forces and combatant commanders.
Stewart Army Subpost and the Stewart-Newburgh Armed Forces Reserve Center are also located on Stewart ANGB. The former supports the U.S. Military Academy, the 1st Battalion/1st Infantry (1/1 INF BN) and the UH-72 Lakota-equipped 2nd Aviation Detachment (2ND AVN DET), while the latter supports the consolidation of several smaller and obsolescent U.S. Army Reserve Centers and New York Army National Guard Armories throughout the Hudson River Valley, colocating their associated units at a single site with modern training facilities.
The U.S. Army Reserve also maintains the Stewart-Newburgh Armed Forces Reserve Center on the installation.
World War II
Stewart Airfield was named in honor of a Scottish-born sea captain, Lachlan Stewart, who skippered schooners, packets and other sailing vessels in the years 1850–1870. The original tract of land was donated by his son, Samuel L. Stewart, to the City of Newburgh in 1930 for use as a municipal airport. It was at this time that plans were being laid to establish a flying facility for the Air Corps detachment then stationed at the United States Military Academy.
Accordingly, on 29 October 1941, the Stewart Field lands were made part of West Point with the exchange of the city’s deed for a U.S. Treasury Department check in the amount of one dollar.
Activated on 22 May 1942 as a United States Army Air Forces Basic-Advanced flying school. Initially assigned to USAAF Southeast Training Center (later Eastern Flying Training Command). On 25 August 1942, Stewart Field was officially dedicated as the "Wings of West Point" when 245 West Point cadets began their basic flying instruction at the partially constructed post, which rapidly developed during the latter years of World War II.
During the war, the main AAF unit at Stewart was the 320th Army Air Force Base Unit. While the flying program was under the technical control of the Commanding General Training Command, the airfield belonged to the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York. The unit conducted flying training and specialized flying training for US Military Academy cadets until placed on standby status on 1 July 1946.
On 1 October 1946, jurisdiction of Stewart Field was transferred from Training Command to the new Tactical Air Command. However, the facility remained on standby status with no mission, although West Point still retained the administrative control. The 115th Army Air Force Base unit was activated as a caretaker unit of the facilities to provide services to West Point prep school and to maintain the flying proficiency of USMA military pilots until the final decision was made with regards to the use of the facility.
TAC activated the 74th Reconnaissance Group, as an Army Air Force Reserve unit at Stewart Field on 27 December 1946. With the establishment of an independent U.S. Air Force in 1947, the 74th then became an Air Force Reserve unit. No personnel or aircraft were assigned until the 21st and 22d Reconnaissance Squadrons were activated on 1 January 1948 with RF-51D Mustangs. The group trained reserve airmen and pilots in aerial reconnaissance, medium bombardment, and fighter techniques. The base was still used by the USMA during this period
On 31 December 1948, jurisdiction of Stewart Air Force Base was transferred to Continental Air Command (ConAC), which placed it under First Air Force. The reserve's 74th RG was inactivated on 27 June 1949.
Air Defense Command
Upon receiving jurisdiction of Stewart AFB in 1949, ConAC began an improvement of the World War II station facilities and expanded the airfield to accommodate jet aircraft, lengthening the runways and expanding the ramp, hangar and maintenance facilities at the base. The base was transferred from the ConAC First Air Force to Air Defense Command (ADC) on 1 April 1950, and was designated as a major control center for New York and New England. The 4700th Air Base Group, activated on 1 January 1951 was responsible for the station support units. “Stony Lonesome,” as the area was once called, increased to about 1,500 acres (6.1 km2) and had a garrison strength of some 3,000 personnel.
The ADC Eastern Air Defense Force (EADF) was also activated on 1 January 1951, being responsible for the air defense of the Eastern United States. EADF's region was the continental United States essentially east of the Appalachian Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean, along with ADC bases in Labrador, Canada and Greenland. Under EADF the 32d Air Division was activated as a command and control organization under EADF for the administration, equipping, training, and operational preparation for all of its assigned units.
The 540th Aircraft Control and Warning Group, also activated on 1 January 1951 was activated as a command and control organization under the 32d AD for general surveillance radar squadrons, and the 653d Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron was organized for operational deployment to a permanent radar station being constructed as part of the ADC network.
On 12 February 1952, the 32d Air Division was reassigned to Syracuse AFS, New York to direct a Manual Combat Control (MCC) center and prepare Syracuse for the establishment of the Semi Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) system. Funding and construction delays slowed the construction of the upgraded airfield facilities. The 540th AC&W Group was inactivated with the 653d AC&W Squadron was reassigned to the 33d Air Division at Tinker AFB, Oklahoma on 18 June 1953, ending MCC operations by the EADF.
The activation of the new airfield in late 1952 allowed the 330th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron to be activated at Stewart AFB on 22 November, initially equipped with F-80C Shooting Stars. The 4707th Air Defense Wing was moved from Otis AFB, Massachusetts to Stewart on 6 February 1952 to be the command organization for the interceptor squadrons. The 4707th was assigned to the 32d Air Division at Syracuse AFS. In April 1954, the 539th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron became the second interceptor squadron at Stewart, being re-designated the 331st Fighter-Interceptor Squadron on 18 August 1955. The 4707th was re-designated as the 329th Fighter Group (Air Defense) on 18 August 1955 as part of "Project Arrow", a notable World War II unit reactivation program by ADC. Both the 330th and 331st FIS flew the F-86D Sabre interceptor by 1954, being upgraded to the SAGE controlled F-86L in 1957.
In 1956, preparation for the introduction of the SAGE system began at Stewart AFB. The 4622d Air Defense Wing (SAGE) was activated on 1 June 1956 and construction was begun on the blockhouse (DC-02) and the installation and testing of the SAGE electronic and data processing equipment which, when made operational made the manual air defense system of the EADF obsolete. The SAGE system was a network linking Air Force (and later FAA) General Surveillance Radar stations into a centralized center for Air Defense, intended to provide early warning and response for a Soviet nuclear attack. This automated control system was used by NORAD for tracking and intercepting enemy bomber aircraft. In the later versions the system could automatically direct aircraft to an interception by sending instructions directly to the aircraft's autopilot.
DC-02 and Combat Center (CC-04) became operational on 8 January 1957 and the 4622d ADW was re-designated as the Boston Air Defense Sector (BADS). SAGE was expensive to operate and on 4 September 1963 the BADS merged with the Syracuse Air Defense Sector (SADS) at Syracuse AFS, New York and the SAGE DC-03/CC-01 located there. The BADS was initially under the 26th Air Division also at Syracuse AFS, but the 26th AD was moved to Stewart after the two Defense Sectors were merged on 15 June 1964.
In 1958, the 4713th Defense Systems Evaluation Squadron, flying B-57 Canberra aircraft was activated. The pilots and electronic warfare officers of the 4713th tested the effectiveness of the NORAD (North American Air Defense Command) Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) system by substituting for an attacking enemy over Greenland, Alaska, the continental U.S. and its seaward approaches. The B-57s were equipped with well over a ton and a half of electronic countermeasures equipment used in attempting to jam NORAD’s various electronic defense systems.
ADCOM ended interceptor operations at Stewart in the summer of 1959 with the inactivation of the 329th Fighter-Interceptor Group on 1 August 1959. In 1960, the EADF was inactivated, however its organization was re-designated as the 64th Air Division and remained at Stewart. The 64th AD continued to train and provided air defense combat ready forces for the aerospace defense of 6,000,000 square miles (16,000,000 km2) of North America, including 24 eastern states, Puerto Rico, Greenland, as well as the Atlantic provinces of Canada for ADCOM by commanding the Goose Air Defense Sector (Manual) at Goose Air Force Base, Labrador, Canada.
The flight line and airfield at the base were turned over to the Air Force Reserve in 1961, with the activation of the 904th Troop Carrier Wing with C-119 Flying Boxcars. Stewart was also home to the First Air Force Reserve Region Headquarters, which was responsible for more than 10,000 Air Force Reservists and Air National Guardsmen assigned to units in New York, New Jersey and the New England states.
Normal ADCOM operations continued throughout the 1960s at DC-02/CC-04, with the BADS being inactivated and SAGE operations being assumed by Headquarters, First Air Force which was activated at Stewart AFB on 1 April 1966 under the Eastern NORAD region.
Both DC-02/CC-04 and First Air Force were inactivated on 31 December 1969 when and budget restrictions forced ADCOM to shut down SAGE operations at Stewart, with control being moved to SAGE DC-03/CC-01 at Syracuse AFS. The closure of the SAGE blockhouse ended ADCOM activities at Stewart, and active duty Air Force use of the base. It was turned over the New York Air National Guard in a caretaker status on 31 December 1969.
Stewart Air Force Base was deactivated in 1970 and it officially remained unoccupied until 1983 when the newly renamed 105th Tactical Air Support Group (105 TASG), their O-2 Skymaster aircraft, and the 213th Engineer Installation Squadron (213 EIS) of the New York Air National Guard relocated from Westchester County Airport and took up quarters. The 102 TASG converted to the C-5 Galaxy aircraft the following year and was renamed the 105th Military Airlift Group (105 MAG), assuming their current name of the 105th Airlift Wing (105 AW) in 1995.
Air National Guard
In 1970, with the drawdown of the then-renamed Aerospace Defense Command, the Air Force released most of Stewart AFB back to civilian control. To the original 1,552-acre (6.28 km2) facility, the state of New York added an additional 8,600 acres (35 km2), which was designated for future development as well as a 4.7-mile (7.6 km) long noise buffer zone.
Today, the former Stewart AFB is now both Stewart International Airport and Stewart Air National Guard Base. For example, the old SAGE Direction Center (DC) blockhouse, still extant but with faded paint, lies outside of the current military area and is considered non-aviation commercial property of Stewart International Airport. It is partially used by Bell Atlantic and has a microwave tower on its roof, while the 4th floor of the old SAGE blockhouse still has plotting boards and other equipment left behind. What appeared to be a radio transmitter or receiver site of typical USAF construction was seen on the ridge top east of the blockhouse, near the airport control tower. A few of the other buildings near the SAGE blockhouse were in use, but most appeared vacant, while baseball fields across the street were being used by Little League teams.
In contrast, those areas still under military control at Stewart ANGB have seen extensive military construction (MILCON) projects in the years since that portion of Stewart AFB transitioned back to active military control and use in 1983, with extant structures renovated, obsolete structures demolished and new structures and facilities constructed and completed.
In November 2010, it was announced that the Air Force had selected Stewart ANGB as its "preferred base" for eight C-17 Globemaster III jet cargo aircraft slated to be operated by the Air National Guard for the Air Mobility Command, with the twelve C-5A Galaxy cargo aircraft operated by the 105 AW at the base to be retired and replaced by the C-17s. In March 2011, Air Force officials announced that the 105 AW had been chosen as the final basing decision for eight C-17 Globemaster III mobility aircraft. The 105 AW's first C-17, AF Ser. No. 05-0105, arrived in July 2011 and the wing commenced retiring their C-5 aircraft and transitioning to the C-17. This transition was completed in September 2012 with the departure of the wing's last C-5 aircraft.
Major USAF units assigned
- New York World War II Army Airfields
- List of USAF Aerospace Defense Command General Surveillance Radar Stations
- Stewart Air National Guard Base. Globalsecurity.org. Retrieved on 2013-09-18.
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- Information for Stewart AFB, NY