Francis S. Gabreski ANGB / Gabreski Field
Francis S. Gabreski Airport (ANGB) is located in Long Island (Westhampton Beach, Suffolk County), New York, approximately 80 miles east of New York City. It is home to the 106th Rescue Wing which operates HC-130 Hercules and MH-60G Black Hawk helicopters to provide war and peacetime aerial rescue services. The base encompasses 88 acres and contains 34 buildings; 32 Industrial and 2 Services, amounting to approximately 311,000 square feet. There is no family or transient housing. The day-to-day base population is approximately 250 personnel; however, one weekend each month the population surges to 826 in response to Air National Guard drills.
In 1943, the Federal Government built this airport for use as an air force base during World War II After the war, it was returned to Suffolk County, until 1951, when it was reclaimed for the Korean War National Emergency. In 1960, it was leased by the US Air Force for an Air Defense Command Base, deactivated in 1969, then released back to Suffolk County in 1970. In 1991, the airport was renamed in honor of Col. Francis S. Gabreski, a former base commander and World War II air ace, who died on January 31, 2002.
In October 1999 Suffolk County Executive Robert J. Gaffney was honored by the Division of Military & Naval Affairs for his work to utilize the National Guard air teams to monitor the Pine Barrens Core, helping reduce environmental crimes while providing training for the Guard. In 1998 Gaffney started working with members of the Air National Guard to devise a strategy that would utilize the military aircraft to combat illegal dumping in the Pine Barrens Core. Since then, the thousands of acres in the core have been monitored by the National Guard, which has helped reduce the number of environmental crimes. In May 1998, Gaffney's model to utilize the National Guard to protect sensitive environmental areas was dubbed "Guard Help" by Governor George E. Pataki, who made it a top objective to utilize the National Guard to protect environmental areas throughout the State. Other State governors across the Country have established their own Guard Help programs.
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