Barnes Air National Guard Base
Barnes Air National Guard Base is located on the northern side of Westfield in an area known as Hampden Plains. This flat area has been used by Massachusetts as a military training area going back to at least 1905. In the late Summer of 1917, this plain was used as a Troop Staging Area where various Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine Militia Units were reformed into the 102nd, 103rd, and 104th regiments to be shipped to France during World War I. The Air National Guard began it's history at Barnes Airport in October of 1946. I doubt that few of those early members would recognize the place now. As you come onto the base off Falcon Way, the first thing you will notice is the bright blue base sign located next to the Main Gate.
As you drive through the gate, look to the left and you will see an A-10 on a pedestal. This is a monument to all the men and women who have served in the 104th Fighter Wing. Located behind the A-10 is a granite wall with the names and dates of service of members with more than 20 years of service.
The new Dining Facility building also houses a Fitness Center. Past the Dining Hall on the right side is the Composite Building. This building houses the Medical Squadron, the Security Forces Squadron and the Communications Flight.
The next building on the left is the Avionics and Weapons Maintenance Building. This is where much of the "in-shop" work is performed on the Electronic Components and Weapons Systems of the A-10 are performed. Moving past this building, there is a small tan steel building. This is the Readiness Shop where personnel learn how to survive in a Chemical, Nuclear or Biological Attack.
The Fuels Area is now on the right. This is where the fuel is stored for the A-10s in large white tanks. The Operations Building is across the street, next to the Base Headquarters Building. The Headquarters building also houses the Recruiting Offices, on the ramp side. The Military Personnel Flight is located on the second floor. This is where records are maintained and stored, and where personnel would go for a new identification card among other things.
Directly in front on the Headquarters Building is the Ramp where the aircraft are parked. Off to the left, is the Base Hangar. Behind this building is the Corrosion Control Hangar where the painting of the aircraft takes place.
Across the runway and to the right of the Recruiting Office is the Munitions Maintenance Complex of several work and storage facilities. Back on the main road and across the street from the Headquarters Building, is the Supply Area. There is a brick Office and Receiving area and a long low building that houses Contracting, Transportation, and Clothing Issue. This is the oldest building on base and soon to come down. Behind this building the new Supply Complex was built.
On the right past the Supply Area is the new Vehicle Maintenance Facility where anything from cars to snow-plows can worked on. At the end of the road, take a left around the Airman's Club to approach the Fire Department and Civil Engineering Building. This is another of the newer buildings on base.
Secretary of Defense Recommendations: In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to realign Bradley International Airport Air Guard Station, CT. The A-10s assigned to the 103d Fighter Wing would be distributed to the 104th Fighter Wing, Barnes Municipal Airport Air Guard Station, MA (nine aircraft) and retirement (six aircraft). DoD also recommended to realign Barnes Air Guard Station, MA; Selfridge ANGB, MI; Shaw Air Force Base, SC; and Martin State Airport Air Guard Station, MD, by relocating base-level TF-34 engine intermediate maintenance to Bradley, establishing a Centralized Intermediate Repair Facility (CIRF) at Bradley for TF-34 engines.
In another recommendation, DoD recommended to close Otis ANGB, MA. The 253d Combat Communications Group, and 267th Communications Squadron would remain in place at Otis, with 104th Fighter Wing at Barnes providing administrative support as the parent wing. Firefighter positions from Otis would also move to Barnes MAP AGS.
Secretary of Defense Justification: Barnes (97) and Bradley (98) are located approximately 12 miles apart. The Air Force would place one full squadron at Barnes because it ranked higher in military value. By combining the two units into one squadron the Air Force would retain the trained A-10 pilots and maintenance technicians in the area and create an optimum-sized and more effective squadron. The recommendation to close Otis ANGB, MA, generated a requirement to build an air sovereignty alert (ASA) site in the region. The Air Force priced an alert facility at both Barnes and Bradley, and chose Bradley on the basis of lower cost. Establishing a CIRF at Bradley for TF-34 engine maintenance would compliment the realignment of the A-10 fleet. The CIRF at Bradley would consolidate TF-34 engine maintenance for ANG A-10 aircraft from Barnes, Selfridge, Martin State and active duty aircraft at Spangdahlem, Germany. Establishing this CIRF at Bradley rather than at Barnes would avoid relocation of a hush house facility at an estimated cost of $3.5M, and would avoid construction of additional 18,000 square feet of maintenance facilities already existing at Bradley and that will be available.
Community Concerns: The East Granby, CT, community, including its elected representatives, challenged DoD's Mission Compatability Index (MCI) scores, claiming the Air Force's one-size-fits-all approach for both active and reserve bases creates a built-in bias favoring large active-duty bases. The community claimed Bradley is one of the Air National Guard's most efficient A-10 installations. It also claimed the Air Force significantly understated Bradley's military value, ignoring infrastructure available through an agreement with the local airport authority. Advocates noted the loss of experienced and skilled personnel would reduce combat capability and could jeopardize homeland security. Even though the ANG facility proposed to receive Bradley's A-10 aircraft is only 15 miles away, East Granby community leaders emphasized that Barnes' location in a different state would pose major employment challenges for those who wished to relocate to Westfield, MA.
Commission Findings: The Commission placed F-15s at Barnes Air Guard Station, located 12 miles to the north of Bradley. There is essentially no difference in MCI scores between Barnes and Bradley. No objections were found with any other part of this recommendation. 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 Bradley International Airport Air Guard Station, CT. Distribute the 15 A-10 aircraft assigned to the 103d Fighter Wing (ANG) at Bradley Field, Connecticut and the 15 A-10 aircraft at the 104th Fighter Wing (ANG), Barnes Air Guard Station, Massachusetts 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.
Establish 18 PAA F-15 aircraft at the 104th Fighter Wing (ANG), Barnes Air Guard Station, MA.
The 103d Fighter Wing (ANG) Expeditionary Combat Support (ECS) elements will remain in place at Bradley Field, Connecticut and Bradley will retain capability to support a homeland defense mission.
If the State of Connecticut decides to change the organization, composition and location of the 103d Fighter Wing to integrate the unit into the Future Total Force, all other personnel allotted to the 103d Fighter Wing will remain in place and assume a mission relevant to the security interests of the State of Connecticut 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 Connecticut or the Massachusetts Air National Guard. The distribution of aircraft currently assigned to the 103d and 104th Fighter Wings (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 or the commonwealth.
Realign Barnes Air Guard Station, MA; Selfridge ANGB, MI; Shaw Air Force Base, SC; and Martin State Airport Air Guard Station, MD, by relocating base-level TF-34 engine intermediate maintenance to Bradley, establishing a Centralized Intermediate Repair Facility (CIRF) at Bradley for TF-34 engines.
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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