Westover Air Reserve Base

Westover Air Reserve Base(IATA: CEF, ICAO: KCEF, FAA LID: CEF) is an Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC) installation located in the Massachusetts communities of Chicopee and Ludlow, near the city of Springfield, Massachusetts. Established at the outset of World War II, today Westover is the largest Air Force Reserve base in the United States, home to approximately 5,500 military and civilian personnel, and covering 2500 acres (10 km²).[2] Until 2011, it was a backup landing site for the NASASpace Shuttle and in the past few years has expanded to include a growing civilian access airport (Westover Metropolitan Airport) sharing Westover’s military-maintained runways.[3] The installation was named for Major General Oscar Westover who was commanding officer of the Army Air Corps in the 1930s.[4]

U.S. Air Force facility in central Massachusetts
For civil use of this facility and airport information, see Westover Metropolitan Airport.

Westover Air Reserve Base
Chicopee, Massachusetts in the United States

An aerial view showing C-5 Galaxies of the 439th Airlift Wing parked on the ramp at Westover ARB.

Westover ARB
Location in the United States

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Westover ARB
Westover ARB (the United States)

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Type Air Reserve Base
Site information
Owner Department of Defense
Operator US Air Force (USAF)
Controlled by Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC)
Condition Operational
Website www.westover.afrc.af.mil
Site history
Built 1939 (1939)
In use 1939 – present
Garrison information
Garrison 439th Airlift Wing (host)
Airfield information
Identifiers IATA: CEF, ICAO: KCEF, FAA LID: CEF, WMO: 744910
Elevation 73.4 metres (241 ft) AMSL
Direction Length and surface
05/23 3,535 metres (11,598 ft) Asphalt/Concrete
15/33 2,158.5 metres (7,082 ft) Asphalt/Concrete
Airfield shared with Westover Metropolitan Airport
Source:Federal Aviation Administration[1]

The host unit is the 439th Airlift Wing (439 AW) of the Fourth Air Force (4 AF), Air Force Reserve Command. Outside of the AFRC command structure, the 439 AW and Westover are operationally gained by the Air Mobility Command (AMC).

Due to its location as one of the few remaining active military air bases in the northeast United States, Westover ARB is transitted by many different U.S. military aircraft of all the services.[5]

Westover ARB has the longest runway in Massachusetts.

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439th Airlift Wing:

337th Airlift Squadron
439th Aerospace Medicine Squadron
439th Aeromedical Staging Squadron
439th Operations Support Squadron
439th Airlift Control Flight
  • 439th Maintenance Group
439th Maintenance Squadron
439th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
  • 439th Mission Support Group
439th Force Support Squadron
439th Communications Squadron
439th Logistics Readiness Squadron
439th Civil Engineering Squadron
439th Security Forces Squadron
58th Aerial Port Squadron
42nd Aerial Port Squadron

Civil Air Patrol:

U.S. Army Reserve:

  • 302nd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade
  • 304th Transportation Company (Cargo)
  • 655th Regional Support Group
  • 287th Medical Detachment, 804th Medical Brigade
  • 226th Transportation Company (Railway Operating)(assigned to the 757th Transportation Battalion (Railway),[6] Milwaukee, WI; battalion and all subordinate units inactivated by September 2015)


  • Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 27

Marine Corps:

  • Marine Wing Support Squadron 472, Detachment B
  • Marine Air Support Squadron 6

Military Entry Processing Command (DOD):

  • Springfield Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS)

The field was constructed in anticipation of World War II.[7]

In 1951, Air Defense Command arrived, but then turned over the base in 1955 to Strategic Air Command, which sent the 4050th, later 499th Air Refueling Wing, to operate from the base. The 99th Bombardment Wing arrived in 1956. In case of nuclear war, an alternate SAC command bunker, called The Notch, was constructed deep within nearby Bare Mountain.[7]

From 1954 to 1962 the Stony Brook Air Force Station in Ludlow was a nuclear weapons Operational Storage Site for Air Materiel Command (AMC-OSS), one of five in the U.S. During this period Stony Brook was the home of the 3084th Aviation Depot Group, part of the 3079th Aviation Depot Wing. In 1962 Stony Brook was transferred to SAC with the 24th Munitions Maintenance Squadron replacing the 3084th, and stored and maintained nuclear weapons for SAC aircraft at Westover until deactivation in 1973.[8] Today, the Stony Brook site is the home of the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company (MMWEC), Hampden County Jail, and other local businesses.

On January 7, 1971, after taking off from Westover Air force Base a Boeing B-52C Stratofortress (serial 54-26660) of Strategic Air Command crashed into northern Lake Michigan at the mouth of Little Traverse Bay near Charlevoix, Michigan, while on a low-level training flight. All nine crew members aboard were lost. No remains of the crewmen were recovered. [9]

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