Quonset State Airport
Rhode Island Air National Guard Base at Quonset State Airport is located 20 miles south of Providence, Rhode Island and approximately 2.5 miles north of Wickford, Rhode Island. It is the home of the 143rd Airlift Wing whose mission is to provide air logistics support. The base is 79 acres of leased land. By July 2001 the base had an additional lease for approximately 15 acres used for the development of their master plan and will allow for construction of facilities to support new C-130J transport aircraft. There are a total of 12 facilities on base: 4 industrial, 6 administrative and 2 services with no family housing. Current base population is approximately 360 personnel during non-drill duty days and increases to approximately 599 personnel on a drill duty weekend that occurs once per month.
Quonset State Airport is a public use facility located on a peninsula that combines port, rail, road and air transportation facilities, and an extensive industrial park. It is home to both the Air and Army National Guard, who use the facility for training and aviation operations. In addition to T. F. Green Airport, the Rhode Island Airport Corporation is responsible for five general aviation airports throughout the state: Block Island, Newport, North Central, Quonset and Westerly.
The first half of the 20th century saw a period of unprecedented growth in the Naval presence in Narragansett Bay. World Wars I and II resulted in a huge influx of military and civilian employees in Rhode Island, with a peak of more than 162,000 personnel in 1944. One of the largest commands during this period was the Quonset Point Naval Air Station, located alongside the home of the Seabees, the Naval Base at Davisville. These commands, combined with the cruiser and destroyer commands based in Newport, resulted in over a hundred capital ships being homeported in Narragansett Bay in the 1960's. And that doesn't count all the innumerable support vessels, oilers, tenders, and the like, all manned by thousands of young men, many of whom passed through the Naval Training Station in Newport.
The military presence throughout Rhode Island began to decrease in the 1960s, with a dramatic change resulting from the closure of Quonset Point in the early 1970s. Today, the total population of all the Naval commands in Narragansett Bay has now decreased to less than a tenth of what it was during its heyday (now approximately 15,000 military and civilian employees remain).
Its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD would realign Martin State Air Guard Station (AGS), MD. DoD recommended to distribute the eight C- 130J aircraft of the 175th Wing (ANG) to the 146th Airlift Wing (ANG), Channel Islands AGS, CA (four aircraft), and 143d Airlift Wing (ANG), Quonset State Airport AGS, RI (four aircraft). This recommendation would move C-130Js to Channel Islands AGS (96), and Quonset State (125), both of which ranked higher in military value and already operate the J-model C-130--avoiding conversion training costs.
In another recommendation, DoD recommended to realign Little Rock AFB by realigning one C-130J aircraft to the 143d Airlift Wing (ANG), Quonset State Airport AGS.
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