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Rep. Dykema Tours Westover Air Reserve Base
On April 16, legislators from across the Commonwealth and a strong contingent from Westborough participated in a tour of Westover Air Reserve Base. The visit was coordinated by base leadership with the help of Westborough resident, Air Force Colonel Brent French, and Representative Carolyn Dykema (D-Holliston).
“This week’s tragic events in Boston are a vivid reminder of the need for vigilance and military readiness to protect the safety of the public,” said Representative Dykema. “This morning’s tour showed us the depth and breadth of operations at the base and the crucial role Air Force personnel play during times of both war and peace. Seeing base operations up close will help us as legislators better fulfill our role in providing supports to our Reservists and their families at Westover and across the Commonwealth. The tour was also a chance to say thank you to our dedicated Reserve personnel, our friends and neighbors who are always ready to take the call for help.”
“It's clear that the legislators, guidance counselors, and other attendees were committed to learning about Reservists and their families, so it's no surprise Massachusetts is such a great place to be a veteran,” said Colonel Brent French.
“It was an honor and a privilege to tour Westover ARB with the Westborough delegation today,” said Representative Matt Beaton (R-Shrewsbury). “To see firsthand the amazing work performed at the base and the top class reservists in action reminds me of how lucky we are to live in such an amazing country. It was a day I will not soon forget and I thank our service men and women for all that they do to keep us safe.”
During the tour, the group was able to see the many ways that Westover Air Reserve Base (ARB) supports the Air Force Reserve’s mission to provide combat-ready forces to fly, fight and win.
"It was a pleasure to show some of the Commonwealth's movers and shakers the work we do on the ground and in the air," said Lt. Col. James Bishop, Westover's chief of public affairs.
In addition to a tour of the C-5, one of the largest cargo aircraft in the world, and meeting with some of the reservists who service the planes, the group also met with firefighters on base and saw one of their live-fire exercises.
“Visiting Westover Air Reserve Base provided me with a greater depth of understanding of the critical role that our local reservists play in defending our freedoms during these difficult times,” said Westborough Selectman Tim Dodd.
About Westover Air Force Reserve Base
Established in 1940, Westover ARB located in Chicopee, MA is the nation’s largest Air Reserve base and is home to the Air Force’s largest cargo aircraft, the C-5B. A total of 5,500 people are assigned to Westover ARB. The base is home to the 439th Airlift Wing and hosts joint partners from the Army, Navy, Marines and civil service. According to the fiscal year 2012 Economic Impact Report, $238 million flowed into the Western Massachusetts economy from the base.
The 439th Airlift Wing provides worldwide movement of troops, supplies, equipment and medical patients. Support units provide communications, engineering, logistical, medical and security support.
Since 2001, thousands of Airmen from Westover have deployed to support The Global War on Terrorism. At the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the base had more than 1,200 people deployed in-theater.
Westover’s C-5 and Airmen also have a long history of supporting worldwide humanitarian missions, including Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and Haiti earthquake relief in 2010.