Westover Air Reserve Base

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Westover Air Reserve Base
Chicopee, Massachusetts in the United States
An aerial view showing C-5 Galaxies of the 439th Airlift Wing parked on the ramp at Westover ARB
Air Force Reserve Command.png
Westover ARB is located in Massachusetts
Westover ARB
Westover ARB
Location in the United States
Westover ARB is located in the United States
Westover ARB
Westover ARB
Westover ARB (the United States)
Coordinates42°11′38″N 72°32′05″W / 42.19389°N 72.53472°W / 42.19389; -72.53472 (Westover ARB)Coordinates: 42°11′38″N 72°32′05″W / 42.19389°N 72.53472°W / 42.19389; -72.53472 (Westover ARB)
TypeAir Reserve base
Site information
OwnerDepartment of Defense
OperatorUS Air Force (USAF)
Controlled byAir Force Reserve Command (AFRC)
Site history
Built1939 (1939)
In use1939 – present
Garrison information
Garrison439th Airlift Wing (host)
Airfield information
IdentifiersIATA: CEF, ICAO: KCEF, FAA LID: CEF, WMO: 744910
Elevation73.4 metres (241 ft) AMSL
Direction Length and surface
05/23 3,535 metres (11,598 ft) asphalt/concrete
15/33 2,158.5 metres (7,082 ft) asphalt/concrete
Airfield shared with Westover Metropolitan Airport
Source: Federal Aviation Administration[1]

Westover Air Reserve Base (IATA: CEF, ICAO: KCEF, FAA 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. Established at the outset of World War II, today Westover is the largest Air Force Reserve base in the United States, home to approximately 5,500 military and civilian personnel, and covering 2500 acres (10 km²).[2] 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 (Westover Metropolitan Airport) sharing Westover's military-maintained runways.[3] The installation was named for Major General Oscar Westover who was commanding officer of the Army Air Corps in the 1930s.[4]

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.[5]

Westover ARB has the longest runway in Massachusetts.


439th Airlift Wing:

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

Civil Air Patrol:

U.S. Army Reserve:

  • 302nd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade
  • 304th Transportation Company (Cargo)
  • 655th Regional Support Group
  • 382nd Military Police Battalion (CS)
  • 287th Medical Detachment, 804th Medical Brigade
  • 226th Transportation Company (Railway Operating)(assigned to the 757th Transportation Battalion (Railway),[6] Milwaukee, WI; battalion and all subordinate units inactivated by September 2015)


  • 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.[7]

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 nearby Bare Mountain.[7]

From 1954 to 1962 the Stony Brook Air Force Station in Ludlow was a nuclear weapons Operational Storage Site for Air Materiel Command (AMC-OSS), one of five in the U.S. During this period Stony Brook was the home of the 3084th Aviation Depot Group, part of the 3079th Aviation Depot Wing. In 1962 Stony Brook was transferred to SAC with the 24th Munitions Maintenance Squadron replacing the 3084th, and stored and maintained nuclear weapons for SAC aircraft at Westover until deactivation in 1973.[8] Today, the Stony Brook site is the home of the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company (MMWEC), Hampden County Jail, and other local businesses.

On January 7, 1971, after taking off from Westover Air Force Base a Boeing B-52C Stratofortress (serial 54-26660) of Strategic Air Command crashed into northern Lake Michigan at the mouth of Little Traverse Bay near Charlevoix, Michigan, while on a low-level training flight. All nine crew members aboard were lost. No remains of the crewmen were recovered.[9]

Air Force Reserve[edit]

A C-123K Provider (731st Tactical Airlift Squadron) and a C-130B Hercules (337th Tactical Airlift Squadron) 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 remained at Bradley. A $32 million building project accommodated the additional 1600 service members required by the plan.[10]

The new Armed Forces Reserve Center hosts Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy Reserve operations. The Massachusetts Army National Guard also made its debut at the base.[11]

The base celebrated its 75th anniversary with an air show on 16–17 May 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.[12]

The local government credits Westover with spurring development of the Memorial Drive corridor, including several planned hotels and a retail plaza.[11]

Facilities and aircraft[edit]

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 11,598 ft × 301 ft (3,535 m × 92 m) and 15/33 measuring 7,082 ft × 150 ft (2,159 m × 46 m).[13] A new Air Traffic Control tower was constructed in 2002 and the old tower was demolished. 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.[14] Westover's extended operations history has produced numerous hazardous waste sites.[15]

According to Federal Aviation Administration records for the 12-month period ending 31 October 2017, the airport had 16,213 aircraft operations, an average of 44 per day: 64% military, 33% general aviation and 3% air carrier. There were 40 aircraft at the time based at this airport: 16 military, 11 single engine, 5 multi-engine, 5 jet aircraft, 2 gliders and 1 helicopter.[16]

Military facilities are under control of Col. Joseph D. Janik, Commander, 439th Airlift Wing.[17] The civilian portion of the airport is run by Michael Bolton, Director of Civil Aviation (an employee of the Westover Metropolitan Corporation).

Previous names[edit]

Major commands to which assigned[edit]

Major units assigned[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Airport Diagram – Westover ARB/Metropolitan (CEF)" (PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. 13 August 2020. Retrieved 16 August 2020.
  2. ^ "About Westover Air Reserve Base". Westover Air Reserve Base. United States Air Force. Archived from the original on 5 September 2019.
  3. ^ "Westover AFB, Mass - 99th Bomb Wing -  B-52 - NEED INFO". www.strategic-air-command.com. Retrieved 29 October 2020.
  4. ^ Bowers, Peter M., "Captain of the Clouds", Airpower, Granada Hills, California, July 1972, Volume 2, Number 4, page 33.
  5. ^ "Presidential aircraft parked temporarily at Westover". 439th Airlift Wing Public Affairs. 25 September 2012. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
  6. ^ "Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment 757th Transportation Battalion". history.army.mil. Retrieved 29 October 2020.
  7. ^ a b Faulkner, Frank (January 1990). Westover: Man, Base and Mission (1st ed.). Springfield, Mass.: Hungry Hill Press. p. 160. ISBN 0-9616486-1-9.
  8. ^ "Former Nuclear Weapons Storage Area, Stonybrook, Chicopee, MA". coldwar-ma. Retrieved 29 October 2020.
  9. ^ "9 Missing in Bay Shore Crash". Petoskey News Review. 9 January 1971.
  10. ^ The Republican Newsroom (22 March 2008). "Groundbreaking held for new reserve center". masslive. Retrieved 29 October 2020.
  11. ^ a b "Westover project good for economy – MassLive.com". Retrieved 29 October 2020.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ FAA Airport Form 5010 for CEF PDF, retrieved 15 March 2007
  14. ^ "ALLEY CITIZENS FOR A SAFE ENVIRONMENT, Plaintiff, Appellant, v. Edward C. ALDRIDGE, etc., et al., Defendants, Appellees".
  15. ^ "Westover Air Force Base". Hampshire College, Amherst, Mass.: Military Waste Cleanup Project, Institute for Science and Interdisciplinary Studies. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  16. ^ FAA Airport Form 5010 for CEF PDF, effective 30 July 2011
  17. ^ "COL. D. SCOTT DURHAM > Westover Air Reserve Base > Display". www.westover.afrc.af.mil. Retrieved 24 November 2017.

External links[edit]