Berry Field National Guard Base
Nashville International Airport
The former Berry Field is now Nashville International Airport (BNA). The southern end of the field is home to a Tennessee Air National Guard airlift wing. The field was used by Air Transport Command during W.W.II, then Air Defense Command briefly in the early 1950s. It has been home to the Air National Guard since 1952. Berry Field remains the name of the Tennessee Air National Guard complex at Nashville International Airport.
In 1935, then Nashville Mayor Hillary Howse appointed a Citizens Committee to select a site for an airport in Nashville. After months of research, the area chosen was a 340-acre site comprised of four adjoining farms located along the Dixie Highway (now Murfreesboro Road). Constructed as a Works Progress Administration project, the airport was dedicated in 1936, and officially opened in June of 1937. It was named Berry Field in honor of Colonel Harry S. Berry, State Administrator of the Works Progress Administration (WPA). So the three letter identifier, "BNA" stands for Berry Field NAshville.
Berry Field became the military base for the 4th Ferrying Command during World War II. The federal government added additional acreage for its military operations and in 1946, after the war ended, the military returned a 1,500 acre airport to the City of Nashville.
In 1977, the airport consisted of 3,300 acres with three runways. In 1987 the airport dedicated the new 750,000 sq. ft. passenger terminal. Major construction began on the new parallel runway east of Donelson Pike in February 1988. It connected to the existing runways by a taxiway bridge spanning Donelson Pike. The airport's name was changed to Nashville International Airport in 1988 to reflect present and future international air service goals.
In 2000 full Senate approved the Military Construction Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2001, which included $800,000 to begin construction on a Composite Aircraft Maintenance Complex for the Tennessee Air National Guard at the Berry Field National Guard Base in Nashville. The 118th Airlift Wing Maintenance Squadron is housed in a variety of substandard buildings, some of which are more than 40 years old. The existing facilities hinder the unit's combat readiness and jeopardize aircraft safety. This inadequate facility made moving airplanes into hangars is difficult and increases repair time for on damaged aircraft. Renovations to the existing facilities used by the 118th Airlift Wing will improve its military readiness as well as aircraft safety.
Secretary of Defense Recommendation: In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to realign Nashville International Airport (IAP) AGS, TN. This recommendation would distribute the C-130H aircraft of the 118th Airlift Wing (ANG) to the 182d Airlift Wing (ANG), Greater Peoria Airport AGS, IL (four aircraft), and the 123d Airlift Wing (ANG), Louisville IAP AGS, KY (four aircraft). Flying related ECS (aerial port and fire fighters) would move to Memphis IAP AGS. The Aeromedical Squadron from Nashville would move to NAS JRB Fort Worth. Other ECS would remain in place at Nashville.
Secretary of Defense Justification:Nashville (104) had a low military value ranking and was near other ANG bases keeping or gaining aircraft. Military judgment was the predominant factor in this recommendation--this realignment would create two right-sized squadrons, Peoria (127) and Louisville (79) from three undersized squadrons and retains experienced ANG personnel.
The total estimated one-time cost to the Department of Defense to implement this recommendation would be $25.4M. The net of all costs and savings to the Department during the implementation period would be a cost of $16.7M. Annual recurring savings after implementation would be $13.7M, with payback expected in two years. The net present value of the cost and savings to the Department over 20 years would be a savings of $120.0M. Assuming no economic recovery, this recommendation could result in a maximum potential reduction of 328 jobs (191 direct jobs and 137 indirect jobs) over the 2006-2011 period in the Nashville, TN, Metropolitan Statistical economic area (less than 0.1 percent). Impacts of costs include $0.1M in costs for environmental compliance and waste management.
Community Concerns: The Nashville, TN, community, including public officials, criticized Mission Compatability Index (MCI) scores, claiming the Air Force's one-size-fits-all approach created a built-in bias favoring large active-duty bases. They argued that the Air Force's optimal primary assigned aircraft (PAA) model was inappropriate for Air Guard installations. In addition, they asserted proper credit was not given for its new state-of-the-art maintenance facility and a civilian fuel depot to which the 118th Airlift Wing (AW) has unimpeded access. The community felt that when quantitative military value analysis did not generate the Air Force's desired results, "military judgment" was arbitrarily applied to justify the BRAC proposals.
They stated the loss of experienced personnel and the subsequent negative impact on combat capability will be significant, and no members of Nashville's aero-medical evacuation squadron are expected to relocate with their mission.
Public officials protested the loss of C-130 aircraft because they are so well-suited to civil support and emergency disaster response, and DoD's proposal would hurt the area's homeland security preparedness by separating transport capability from the Nashville-based 45th Civil Support Team.
Last, unlike the Army and Navy processes related to their Reserve Components, the community noted there was extremely limited communication between the Air Force, National Guard Bureau, the Adjutants General, and the State governors. The failure to engage their reserve component counterparts has had a negative effect on morale and jeopardized what was previously a longstanding and good relationship.
Commission Findings: The Commission found that the Department of Defense recommendation to remove the flying mission from Nashville International Airport Air Guard Station can be supported despite community concerns related to military value, manpower savings and impact on the state mission. The Commission also recognized the fact that the C-130 force structure is shrinking and that the number of Air National Guard C-130 operating locations must be reduced. The Commission established a C- 130 wing at Greater Peoria Air Guard Station, Illinois and Louisville International Airport, Kentucky. This recommendation is consistent with the Commission's Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Laydown Plan.
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.
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 Nashville International Airport (IAP) Air Guard Station (AGS), TN. Distribute the 8 C-130 aircraft assigned to the 118th Airlift Wing (ANG) to meet the Primary Assigned Aircraft (PAA) requirements established by the Base Closure and Realignment recommendations of the Secretary of Defense, as amended by the Base Closure and Realignment Commission.
Establish 8 PAA C-130 aircraft at the 182d Airlift Wing (ANG), Greater Peoria Airport, AGS, Illinois.
Establish 8 PAA C-130 aircraft at the 123d Airlift Wing (ANG), Louisville International Airport Air Guard Station, Kentucky.
Establish a contiguous enclave for the 118th Airlift Wing (ANG) sufficient to support operations of those units, including flight operations, and compatible with joint use of the Nashville International Airport as a civilian airport.
If the State of Tennessee decides to change the organization, composition and location of the 118th Wing (ANG) to integrate the unit into the Future Total Force, all personnel allotted to the 118th Wing (ANG) will remain in place and assume a mission relevant to the security interests of the State of Tennessee and consistent with the integration of the unit into the Future Total Force, including but not limited to air mobility, C4ISR, 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 Tennessee Air National Guard. The distribution of aircraft currently assigned to the 118th 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.
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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