Air National Guardsmen gathered at Barnes ANG Base in western Massachusetts, along with federal, state, and local government officials, to celebrate the re-opening of the runway that the 104th Fighter Wing’s F-15s use. The re-opening ceremony took place on Jan. 31. The base is adjacent to Westfield-Barnes Regional Airport, which shares the runway. “With this newly renovated and fully mission-capable runway at Barnes . . ., the Air Guard will be better able to protect the homeland and fight America’s wars,” said Lt. Gen. Stanley Clarke, ANG director, in the wing’s Feb. 3 release. The renovation was a $21 million project. “This runway project enhances our ability to perform our 24/7 aerospace control alert mission . . . to protect the northeastern United States, and our ability to provide military support worldwide,” said Col. James Keefe, 104th FW commander. During the construction, Barnes’ F-15s operated from Otis ANG Base on Cape Cod and Westover Air Reserve Base near Springfield. (Westfield report by Army Lt. Col. James Sahady)
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.