Massachusetts Military Reservation [MMR]
Otis Air National Guard Base (ANGB)
Massachusetts Military Reservation (MMR), a military training facility, is located on the upper western portion of Cape Cod, immediately south of the Cape Cod Canal in Barnstable County, Massachusetts. It includes parts of the towns of Bourne, Mashpee, and Sandwich and abuts the town of Falmouth. MMR covers about 22,000 acres-approximately 30 square miles.
The Massachusetts Military Reservation is located over a sole source aquifer that provides drinking water for 200,000 year-round and 500,000 seasonal residents of Cape Cod. The aquifer, referred to as the Sagamore Lens, is a valuable water supply resource.
The industrial area in the southern part of the reservation is where the US Coast Guard, Army National Guard, and Otis Air National Guard Base (ANGB) facilities are located. Aircraft runways, maintenance areas, access roads, housing, and support facilities are found in this 5,500-acre area. The northern 14,700-acre area, also known as Camp Edwards, is used primarily by the Army National Guard. This area contains the 2,200-acre Impact Area, associated military training ranges, and the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod. The 750-acre Veterans Administration Cemetery is located in the southwestern corner of the reservation.
Portions of MMR have been used for military purposes since 1911. The Massachusetts Military Reservation (MMR) was founded by the Commonwealth in 1935 as a National Guard training camp and federalized in 1940 in order to prepare for World War II. Although the occupants and property boundaries have changed a number of times since MMR was established in 1935, the primary mission has always been to provide training and housing to Air Force or Army units. Since 1935, the base has been used for Army training and maneuvers, military aircraft operations, maintenance, and support.
The US Army built and operated Camp Edwards on MMR between 1940 and 1946. The industrial area has been the most actively used part of MMR. During World War II, Army operations in this area included numerous motor pools, where activities such as vehicle repairs, parts cleaning, oil changes, body work, and repainting were performed.
From 1955 through 1972 the US Air Force operated Otis Air Force Base on MMR. Between 1955 and 1972, Air Force operations included the use of petroleum products and other hazardous materials such as fuels, motor oils, and cleaning solvents and the generation of associated wastes. Consistent with practices of other industries at the time, it was common practice for many years at MMR to dispose of such wastes in landfills, drywells, sumps, and the sewage treatment plant. Spills and leaks also occurred. These activities have resulted in serious impacts to the Upper Cape's groundwater resources.
In 1973 the Massachusetts Governor appointed the Otis Task Force to oversee a phase-down of military activities at MMR. The major concern of Cape residents was the fate of base property and impacts on the local economy as military activities decreased.
In 1982, the IRP was initiated by the Department of Defense to investigate and clean up environmental problems at Department of Defense facilities nationwide, which included Otis Air National Guard Base. The program was expanded in 1986 to cover Camp Edwards (ARNG) and the Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod and included investigations of hazardous waste sites at all MMR military units. Seventy-eight separate sites at MMR have been identified as having the potential for causing environmental problems.
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) began to actively review and oversee the expanded IRP program and to meet with ANG personnel to evaluate site investigation reports in 1986.
A review of past and present operations and waste disposal practices identified a number of potentially contaminated areas, including eight covering 3,900 acres on the southern portion of MMR. Six are within Otis ANGB: Former Fire Training Area, Current Fire Training Area, Base Landfill, Nondestructive Testing Laboratory Leach Pit, Fly Ash Disposal Area, and a plume of contaminated ground water from a sewage treatment plant. The two remaining areas, Unit Training Equipment Site (UTES) and Property Disposal Office Storage Yard, are on Camp Edwards, which is currently leased to the Army. The materials associated with the eight areas are fly ash, bottom ash, waste solvents, waste fuels, herbicides, and transformer oil.
While the Nondestructive Testing Laboratory operated (1970-78), waste solvents, emulsifiers, penetrants, and photographic developers were deposited in the sanitary sewer system. Effluent from the sewage treatment plant was discharged into sand beds, where it seeped into ground water. In 1984, the U.S. Geological Survey detected trichloroethane, tetrachloroethylene, and trans-1,2-dichloroethylene in monitoring wells downgradient of the plant. The plume of contaminated ground water extends 2 miles to the south. In 1983 and 1984, the Air Force detected volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in on-site monitoring wells near the Base Landfill and Current Fire Training Area. The Air National Guard and the State have detected VOCs in more than 200 private wells.
Beginning in 1985 ANG initiated an on- and off-base residential drinking water well testing program. ANG and the Air Force have subsequently worked with the towns of Falmouth, Sandwich, Bourne, and Mashpee to test residential water sources and place residences on municipal water supplies or supply bottled water if private wells are found to be contaminated or potentially threatened by contamination. Water lines were installed in 1986-87 to the affected residences.
EPA has designated the Cape Cod aquifer underlying MMR as a Sole Source Aquifer under the Safe Drinking Water Act. The municipalities of Bourne and Sandwich, as well as the Air Force, have drinking water wells within 3 miles of hazardous substances at the site. To date, they are not contaminated. Irrigation wells are also within 3 miles. The drinking water of 36,000 people is potentially threatened.
Ashumet Pond, less than 1 mile downslope of the Former Fire Training Area, is used for recreational activities. A fresh water wetland is 3,600 feet downstream of the area.
The Air Force is participating in the Installation Restoration Program (IRP), established in 1978. Under this program, the Department of Defense seeks to identify, investigate, and clean up contamination from hazardous materials. The Air Force has investigated Air Force property only. A committee that represents all service branches on MMR is coordinating a second investigation that addresses the entire facility.
As of November 1989 approximately 40 "operable units" were in various stages of evaluation, the majority in the remedial investigation phase. A six-day series of articles entitled "Broken Trust" was published by the Cape Cod Times in January 1997. The articles discussed the mismanagement and other problems associated with the MMR cleanup.
Fearful that military training was causing even more damage to the groundwater, EPA's New England Office in February 1997 ordered the National Guard to conduct a study of the effects of military training on groundwater. In May 1997, EPA suspended most military training at Camp Edwards, including all use of live explosives, propellants, flares and lead bullets. It was the first time in American history that military training activities had been halted due to environmental and public health concerns.
In 1998 the Air Force, with congressional approval, agreed to compensate local cranberry growers and the Towns of Falmouth and Mashpee for lost income from cranberry bogs affected by Ethylene dibromide (EDB) from base plumes. In 1999 the Natural Resources Trustee Council (NRTC) was formed to identify injury caused by contamination from MMR. The council will also determine how to restore or replace those injured resources or acquire similar ones. The five trustees and voting members include representatives from the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, U.S. Department of Interior, and U.S. Veterans Affairs.
As a result of the evidence of contamination, EPA in January 2000 ordered the National Guard to begin the process for the removal of unexploded ordnance from the base and to clean up contaminated groundwater and soils. The order was the first of its kind in the country. And in January 2001, EPA ordered the military to use a detonation chamber at the base to destroy the more than 2,500 rounds of different kinds of ammunition dug out of burial pits on the base during the course of the military's investigation of pollution at the firing ranges.
Over $400 million has been spent to date on investigation and cleanup of Installation Restoration Program sites. The estimated total cost to complete the cleanup project is $850 million. These costs include operation of all groundwater cleanup systems for 10 to 30 years. There are currently 12 groundwater cleanup systems operating on eight plumes, extracting and cleaning over 12 million gallons a day of contaminated water from both on and off the MMR. Five more groundwater cleanup systems are to be built during the next four years. Some systems are expected to operate for less than ten years, but several will need to be operated for 25-30 years in order to restore the groundwater aquifer.
For years since the pollution was detected, capital improvements at MMR were put on hold, awaiting a final Master Plan, Environmental Impact Statement and new management structure. As of late 2001 there was over $50 million in MMR modernization work pending. Its aircraft control tower exceeds allowable safety heights; the fire station doesn't meet fire codes; and the Fighter Wing's operations are spread across seven deteriorating structures.
Secretary of Defense Recommendation: Close Otis ANGB, MA. The 102d Fighter Wing's F-15s will be distributed to the 125th Fighter Wing, Jacksonville International Airport Air Guard Station, FL (three aircraft), and 177th Fighter Wing, Atlantic City International Airport Air Guard Station, NJ (12 aircraft). The 253d Combat Communications Group, and 267th Communications Squadron will remain in place at Otis, with 104th Fighter Wing at Barnes providing administrative support as the parent wing. An air sovereignty alert (ASA) facility will be constructed at Bradley International Airport Air Guard Station, CT. Firefighter positions from Otis will move to Barnes Municipal Airport Air Guard Station, MA.
The Air Force distributed reserve component F-15C force structure to bases with higher military value than Otis (88). The F-15C aircraft would be realigned to Jacksonville Air Guard Station (24), Atlantic City Air Guard Station (61). The Atlantic City bound aircraft will provide expanded capability for the Homeland Defense mission. Assuming no economic recovery, this recommendation could result in a maximum potential reduction of 827 jobs (505 direct jobs and 322 indirect jobs) over the 2006-2011 period in the Barnstable Town, MA, Metropolitan Statistical economic area (0.6 percent).
Secretary of Defense Justification: The Air Force distributed reserve component F-15C force structure to bases with higher military value than Otis (88) and Lambert-St. Louis (127). The F-15C aircraft are realigned to Nellis (13), Jacksonville Air Guard Station (24), and Atlantic City Air Guard Station (61). The Nellis bound aircraft will help form an enhanced aggressor squadron for Operation RED FLAG, and the Atlantic City bound aircraft will provide expanded capability for the homeland defense mission.
Community Concerns: The Massachusetts community, including public officials, criticized DoD's Mission Compatability Index (MCI) scores for Otis, arguing they failed to account for ample unsaturated range space and operational expansion potential at the Massachusetts Military Reservation (MMR). They attributed most data call errors and inconsistencies to the fact that distant commands, rather than local officials, submitted the responses.
They claimed closing Otis would eliminate the bill payer for the MMR and shift substantial overhead costs to remaining non-DoD tenants, including the several hundred housing units used by their families, These other tenant commands were never consulted about the additional costs to them of DoD's proposal, as required by law.
Further, they said closing Otis would compromise New England's air defense and hurt recruiting and retention. They asserted the loss of experienced maintainers and pilots would harm mission capabilities and questioned whether Atlantic City could reconstitute the same level of operational readiness.
Additionally, they stated that Otis is an alternate landing site for NASA space shuttles, the MMR is a primary training location for tens of thousands of homeland security personnel, and the base contributes critical services to the surrounding region, including firefighting, water supply, and waste management. Finally, they asserted that aircraft cannot be removed, and National Guard bases closed or realigned, without the Governor's consent.
The Missouri community also criticized MCI scores, claiming the Air Force's use of a one-size-fits-all approach is inherently biased in favor of large active-duty bases. Community leaders noted the Air National Guard (ANG) Bureau limited the size of ANG installations depending on the units' number of aircraft and mission. Lambert AGS is inherently efficient because it is co-located with an existing civilian airport.
They focused on the loss of homeland security air protection in key regions of the Midwest, and noted some data-call questions were irrelevant. They also said implementation of DoD's recommendations could adversely affect training due to limited classroom slots and increased costs, and the announced DoD recommendation has already hurt recruiting and retention. The loss of experienced people and the subsequent negative impact on combat capability has been especially illtimed given the extensive demands of current combat missions.
Last, they asserted that aircraft cannot be removed, or National Guard bases closed or realigned, without the Governor's consent.
The Atlantic City New Jersey community supported DoD's proposal to expand and convert the 177th Fighter Wing, claiming its strategic location permits unparalleled air superiority coverage over five major US cities. New York City, in particular, can be reached within seven minutes of takeoff. The community was confident it could transfer to a new aircraft type, citing its 98.9 percent endstrength, very high Fully Mission Capable Rates, nearby training ranges, and modern infrastructure. Last, it expressed concern about retiring and relocating existing aircraft without first receiving new replacement aircraft from Otis and St. Louis.
Commission Findings: The Commission found that the Department of Defense recommendation to close Otis Air National Guard Base, and realign Lambert St. Louis International Airport Air Guard Station and Atlantic City Air Guard Station should be supported in concept, but with modifications for homeland defense reasons. Despite community concerns related to Otis and Lambert, the Commission agreed with the removal of F-15 aircraft from both locations. The Commission urges the Secretary of Defense to consult with the Secretary of the Department of homeland security and the Commandant, United States Coast Guard to minimize any impact of Otis' closure on the operations of the Coast Guard. The Commission establishes an F-15 wing at Jacksonville, FL, an F-16 wing at Atlantic City, NJ, and an F-16 wing at Burlington, VT, consistent with the Commission's Air National Guard and Reserve Laydown.
This recommendation directing aircraft movement and personnel actions in connection with Air National Guard installations and organizations is designed to support the Future Total Force. The Commission expects that the Air Force will find new missions where needed, provide retraining opportunities, and take appropriate measures to limit possible adverse personnel impact. The Commission's intent is that the Air Force will act to assign sufficient aircrew and maintenance personnel to units gaining aircraft in accordance with current, established procedures. However, the Commission expects that all decisions with regard to manpower authorizations will be made in consultation with the governor of the state in which the affected Air National Guard unit is located. Any manpower changes must be made under existing authorities, and must be made consistent with existing limitations. Some reclassification of existing positions may be necessary, but should not be executed until the Air Force and the state have determined the future mission of the unit to preclude unnecessary personnel turbulence. This recommendation is consistent with the Commission's Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Laydown Plan.
Commission Recommendations: The Commission found that the Secretary of Defense deviated substantially from final selection criterion 1, as well as from the Force Structure Plan. Therefore, the Commission recommends the following:
Realign Otis ANGB, MA. Distribute the fifteen F-15 aircraft assigned to the 102d Fighter Wing's (ANG) to meet the Primary Aircraft Authorizations (PAA) requirements established by the Base Closure and Realignment recommendations of the Secretary of Defense, as amended by the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission. The 253d Combat Communications Group, and 267th Communications Squadron will remain in place at Otis, with 104th Fighter Wing at Barnes providing administrative support as the parent wing. An air sovereignty alert (ASA) facility will be constructed at Barnes Municipal Airport Air Guard Station, MA. Firefighter positions from Otis will move to Barnes Municipal Airport Air Guard Station, MA.
If the Commonwealth of Massachusetts decides to change the organization, composition and location of the 102d Fighter Wing (ANG) to integrate the unit into the Future Total Force, all other personnel allotted to the 102d Fighter Wing (ANG) will remain in place and assume a mission relevant to the security interests of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and consistent with the integration of the unit into the Future Total Force, including but not limited to air mobility, C4ISR, Information Operations, engineering, flight training or unmanned aerial vehicles. Where appropriate, unit personnel will be retrained in skills relevant to the emerging mission.
This recommendation does not effect a change to the authorized end-strength of the Massachusetts Air National Guard. The distribution of aircraft currently assigned to the 102d Fighter Wing (ANG) is based upon a resource-constrained determination by the Department of Defense that the aircraft concerned will better support national security requirements in other locations and is not conditioned upon the agreement of the commonwealth.
Realign Lambert-St. Louis International Airport Air Guard Station, St. Louis, MO. Distribute the fifteen F-15 aircraft assigned to the 131st Fighter Wing to meet the Primary Aircraft Authorizations (PAA) requirements established by the Base Closure and Realignment recommendations of the Secretary of Defense, as amended by the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission. The 157th Air Operations Group (AOG) and the 218th Engineering Installation Group (EIG) will relocate from Jefferson Barracks geographically separated unit (GSU) into space at Lambert International. Jefferson Barracks real property accountability will transfer to the Army.
If the State of Missouri decides to change the organization, composition and location of the 131st Fighter Wing (ANG) to integrate the unit into the Future Total Force, all other personnel allotted to the 131st Fighter Wing (ANG) will remain in place and assume a mission relevant to the security interests of the State of Missouri and consistent with the integration of the unit into the Future Total Force, including but not limited to air mobility, C4ISR, Information Operations, engineering, flight training or unmanned aerial vehicles. Where appropriate, unit personnel will be retrained in skills relevant to the emerging mission.
This recommendation does not effect a change to the authorized end-strength of the Missouri Air National Guard. The distribution of aircraft currently assigned to the 131st Fighter Wing (ANG) is based upon a resource-constrained determination by the Department of Defense that the aircraft concerned will better support national security requirements in other locations and is not conditioned upon the agreement of the state.
Establish 18 PAA F-15 aircraft at the 125th Fighter Wing, Jacksonville International Airport Air Guard Station, Florida (ANG);
Establish 18 PAA F-16 aircraft at the 177th Fighter Wing, Atlantic City International Airport Air Guard Station, New Jersey (ANG);
Establish 18 PAA F-16 aircraft at the 158th Fighter Wing, Burlington International Airport Air Guard Station, Vermont (ANG).
The Commission found that this change and the recommendation as amended are consistent with the final selection criteria and the Force Structure Plan. The full text of this and all Commission recommendations can be found in Appendix Q.
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