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). 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. The installation was named for Major General Oscar Westover who was commanding officer of the Army Air Corps in the 1930s.
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.
Westover ARB has the longest runway in Massachusetts.
- 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
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), Milwaukee, WI; battalion and all subordinate units inactivated by September 2015)
- Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 27
- 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.
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.
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. 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.