The 482nd Fighter Wing, Air Force Reserve, maintains and operates Homestead Air Reserve Base, located near the southern end of the Florida peninsula, about 25 miles south of Miami. It is a fully combat-ready unit capable of providing F-16C multi-purpose fighter aircraft, along with mission ready pilots and support personnel, for short-notice worldwide deployment. The wing has more than 1,500 members, including approximately 1,200 reservists, of which 250 are full-time reservists, in addition to 300 full-time civilians. With its unique geographic location, the 482nd FW regularly hosts combat units from all over the world. Visiting units come to southern Florida to take advantage of the superb flying weather and the abundant training airspace equipped with state-of-the-art Air Combat Manuevering Instrumentation.
As the host unit at Homestead ARS, the 482nd FW supports the operations of several "tenant" units, including the "scramble" capability of a detachment of North American Air Defense Command (NORAD) F-15 fighter interceptors in addition to the U.S. Customs Miami Air Branch drug enforcement air interdiction mission. During the Atlantic hurricane season, the 482nd FW routinely supports forward deployment of the Air Force Reserve's "Hurricane Hunters" weather reconnaissance mission.
The 482nd FW provides the Department of Defense with an efficient cost effective air base, with ready access to a strategic staging location on the rim of the Caribbean Basin, to support contingency and training operations associated with the United States Southern Command area of responsibility.
The 125th Fighter Wing, Florida Air National Guard, is located at Jacksonville International Airport (IAP), Florida, with a NORAD Alert Detachment at Homestead ARB, Florida. On a daily basis, the 125th is responsible for the maintenance of a NORAD Air Defense Alert site at Homestead ARB. In this capacity, the unit provides armed F-15 aircraft capable of intercepting, identifying, and, if necessary, destroying unknown aircraft that penetrate sovereign U.S. airspace. In the past, this threat has included Soviet Bear bombers, Cuban fighters, and narcotics traffickers.
Homestead Air Force Base, covering an area of 2,940 acres, formerly housed the Strategic Air Command 19th and 379th Bomb Wings. In July 1993, the BRAC Commission recommended that Homestead Air Force Base be realigned. The 31st Fighter Wing was inactivated, and all other operations, with the exception of Air Force Reserve activities, were relocated.
SAC tried the tar-rubber paving in a major way at Homestead Air Force Base in Florida when that installation was refurbished for bomber dispersal in 1955. The Corps of Engineeers had previously only laid test sections of the tar-rubber pavement-at Dow Air Force Base in Maine in 1952. At Homestead, SAC based B-47s with a single apron of 1,150 by 8,000 feet, taxiways, warm-up pads, and the 1000-foot overruns were all tar-rubber, in addition to the primary 11,400 by 200-foot runway. The U.S. Rubber Company manufactured SAC's tar-rubber pavement, calling it Sulfa-Aero-Sealz 3080 and shipping it in by tanker trucks from New Jersey.
The Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the Disposal of Portions of the Former Homestead Air Force Base (AFB) waas released in December 2000. The Final SEIS analyzes the proposed transfer of 1,632 acres of surplus property for reuse by the local community. The Air Force seeks to transfer the property in a manner that supports local plans for economic revitalization of south Florida, and protects Biscayne Bay and the nearby national parks.
The Proposed Action is to transfer the land, including the airfield, to Miami-Dade County for redevelopment as a commercial airport. The Final SEIS also examines alternatives to the Proposed Action, including a Commercial Spaceport alternative, a Mixed Use alternative, and the No Action alternative. The Mixed Use alternative assumes the Air Force would retain use of the 915 acre airfield for existing military and other government aircraft operations, and dispose of the remaining 717 acres for non-aviation use. Four scenarios are examined for reuse of that land under the Mixed Use alternative: market-driven development, which analyzes potential market demand for the property, a joint proposal submitted by Collier Resources Company and the Hoover Environmental Group, and separate plans originally submitted by those two entities. A number of independent land use concepts for portions of the available property were also considered. Activities on retained Air Force property and previously conveyed properties would continue, including military and other government aircraft operations.
During the summer of 2003 nine Air Force Reserve Command installations were re-designated joint bases or stations to reflect the multiservice use of the facilities. The locations and their new designations are: Dobbins Joint Air Reserve Base, Ga.; Grissom JARB, Ind.; Homestead JARB, Fla.; March JARB, Calif.; Minneapolis-St. Paul Joint Air Reserve Station, Minn.; Niagara Falls JARS, N.Y.; Pittsburgh JARS, Pa.; Westover JARB, Mass.; and Youngstown JARS, Ohio.
Secretary of Defense Recommendations: Realign Hill AFB. This would distribute the 419th Fighter Wing F-16s to the 482d Fighter Wing.
In another recommendation, DoD recommended to realign Richmond International Airport AGS, VA. It would Distribute the 192d Fighter Wing's F-16s to the 482nd Fighter Wing Homestead ARB, FL (three aircraft) and other installations. The F-16s from Richmond (49) would be distributed to Homestead (31) to enable the capability to support the homeland defense Air Sovereignty Alert mission.
Secretary of Defense Justification: The Air Force distributed Reserve aircraft to Homestead Air Reserve Base (31) to create an optimum sized squadron that supports the homeland defense Air Sovereignty Alert mission. The remaining Reserve aircraft are distributed to the only other remaining Reserve F-16 squadron at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth (58). This laydown keeps the active/
Community Concerns: There were no formal expressions from the community.
Commission Findings: The Commission found that this realignment was consistent with the Air Force goals of creating larger more efficient fighter aircraft squadrons and improving intermediate level maintenance processes. The Commission found that Hill Air Force Base had capacity and conditions for current and future flying missions. The Commission also found that the Secretary of Defense's overall intent and concept of realigning F-16 aircraft out of Hill Air Force Base was supportable. The Commission supported the recommendation to establish Hill as a Centralized Intermediate Repair Facility for Low Attitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night pods and for F-110 Engines. The Commission established an F-16 wing at Homestead Air Reserve Base, Florida and the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas. 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 criteria 1, 3, 4 and 5, as well as from the Force Structure Plan. Therefore, the Commission recommends the following:
Realign Hill Air Force Base, UT. Distribute the 15 F-16 aircraft assigned to the 419th Fighter Wing (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;
Establish 24 PAA F-16 aircraft at the 482nd Fighter Wing, Homestead Air Reserve Base, FL.
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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