Pease ANGB is located in the state of New Hampshire, 55 miles north of Boston and three miles south of Kittery, Maine. Pease is located in the New Hampshire Seacoast Region between the City of Portsmouth and the towns of Newington and Greenland, New Hampshire. Pease Air Force Base (Pease AFB) occupies 4,255 acres in Rockingham County. Pease is home to the New Hampshire Air National Guard 157th Air Refueling Wing which flies KC-135R air refueling aircraft. The installation is approximately 220 acres in size and currently includes 40 facilities. The current base population is 380 people with a once a month surge of up to 950 personnel.
Pease Air Force Base started its long history as a 300 acre municipal airport in the 1930s. With the onset of World War II, the U.S. Navy used an airport at the current base location. The U.S. Air Force assumed control in 1951, when the installation was selected for development as a Strategic Air Command (SAC) base. Purchase of additional land needed for expansion of the base started in 1952 and was completed in 1956. Ground breaking for the new SAC facilities took place in 1954, and the first B-47 bombers arrived in 1956. Portsmouth Air Force Base formally opened on June 30, 1956. In 1957, the Air Force renamed the base Pease Air Force Base in honor of New Hampshire native Captain Harl Pease, Jr. who posthumously earned the Congressional Medal of Honor for heroism during World War II.
The mission of the base was to maintain a combat-ready force capable of long-range bombardment operations. During its history, Pease AFB has been the home of the 100th Bombardment Wing and the 509th Bombardment Wing, whose mission is to develop and maintain operational capacity to permit the conduct of strategic warfare in the event of war. From 1956 until its closure in 1991, Pease Air Force Base maintained a combat-ready force for long range bombardment operations. B-47, KC-97, B-52, KC-135 A/E/R, C-130, and FB-111 aircraft were based at Pease at varying times.
The New Hampshire Air National Guard relocated the 157th Military Airlift Group (MAG) from Grenier Field at Manchester, NH to Pease AFB in 1966. The mission of this group was changed in 1975 when it was designated as the 157th Air Refueling Group.
Pease Air Force Base was the first major installation actually to be closed under the recommendations of the 1988 Commission on Base Closure and Realignment. In December 1988, Pease AFB was selected as one of the 86 military installations to be closed as part of the Secretary of Defense's Commission on Base Realignment and Closure. In 1989, 3,461 active-duty military and 741 civil service workers and 347 on-appropriated fund employees were employed at Pease AFB. Of the active duty personnel, 49 were with the Air National Guard. It is estimated that the base created a total of 2,466 secondary jobs within the local communities. Military personnel began leaving the base in June 1990. Pease AFB closed on March 31, 1991.
Pease Air Force Base contained a mobile home park with 50 developed lots. In 1985, the Air Force waived the normal "first-come-first-served" method of assigning lots and permitted the development of, in effect, and active real estate market in mobile homes among departing and incoming military personnel. As a result, and given the artificially inflated value of the Federal land on which they were located, the value of the homes skyrocketed. The last residents had a substantial investment in their home, which they purchased with the expectation that they would enjoy the same benefits as mobile homeowners among the general public. These mobile homeowners were placed in an untenable position with the closing of Pease Air Force Base. They must sell their homes because they were being reassigned, but there were no new military personnel--the only eligible buyers--arriving at Pease to sell to. As a result, they were unable to sell their homes. It was assumed that those with trailers would simply hook them up and take them to their next duty station. Due to several local and State restrictions, the airmen at Pease AFB cannot do this--nor can they sell them on the local market, again due to State and local restrictions. To remedy this situation, the Air Force was authorized to either, at the choosing of each individual, pay each trailerowner 90 percent of their purchase price--or--pay off all outstanding mortgages.
Under the Air Force's Installation Restoration Program, environmental investigations began in 1983. Pease activities at Pease AFB in support of aircraft maintenance operations have generated listed hazardous and potentially listed and/or characteristic hazardous waste including spent degreasers, solvents, paint strippers, contaminated jet fuels, and perhaps minor quantities of other potentially hazardous waste. Due to environmental contamination of soils and groundwater, Pease AFB was placed on the National Priorities List in 1990.
At sites under Superfund's jurisdiction where the source of contamination has been removed but the concentration of contaminants in groundwater exceed the groundwater quality standards, natural processes associated with natural attenuation should restore groundwater quality to acceptable levels in a reasonable time frame. At those Superfund sites where either the source of contamination is undergoing treatment or further migration of the contaminant plume represents a potential threat to human health and the environment, active treatment of contaminated groundwater in a treatment plant is on going.
Base property was transferred to the Pease Development Authority for reuse as a civilian commercial center. Pease Airport opened for civilian use in 1991 and became an FAA certified airport under FAR Part 139 in October 1992. The Air Traffic Control Tower is staffed 24-hours a day, 7-days a week. The airport has all new airfield facilities and pavements including an ILS approach to both runways. The new domestic and international terminal supports passenger service by Pan American Airways. Pease offers a Foreign Trade Zone with access to the east coast and international trade corridors by land, Route I-95, direct air cargo from Pease or by sea via the Port of New Hampshire. Air cargo access is available via an 11,300 foot runway. The new International/domestic passenger terminal has Federal Inspection Service including customs, agriculture and immigration.
Secretary of Defense Recommendation: Realign March Air Reserve Base, CA. The 163d Air Refueling Wing (ANG) will distribute its nine KC-135R aircraft to the 452d Air Mobility Wing (AFR), March Air Reserve Base (four aircraft); the 157th Air Refueling Wing (ANG), Pease International Tradeport Air Guard Station, NH (three aircraft).
Secretary of Defense Justification: This action distributes the remaining Air National Guard force structure at March to the higher-ranking active installation, McConnell (15), and two ANG installations, McGhee-Tyson (74) and Pease (105). McGhee-Tyson, though rated lower in military value, receives one aircraft due to military judgment to increase the squadron to a more effective size of 12 aircraft. Military judgment also placed additional force structure at Pease to support the Northeast Tanker Task Force and also increase the squadron to a more effective size of 12 aircraft.
Community Concerns: There were no formal expressions from the community.
Commission Findings: The Commission found the recommendation redistributes March's KC-135 aircraft to installations with lower military value. The Commission realigned March Air Reserve Base according to the Commission's Air National Guard and Reserve plan. This realignment would reduce the KC-135 inventory in accordance with DoD's 2025 Force Structure Plan.
The Commission's Air National Guard and Reserve Laydown plan also permits retiring aircraft and strengthening forces to achieve the highest military value. 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 157th Air Refueling Wing (ANG), Pease International Tradeport Air Guard Station, NH (eight PAA KC-135R/T).
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