Stewart Air National Guard Base in upstate New York is the Air Force’s preferred Air Guard basing location for eight C-17 transports, service officials announced Tuesday. As part of this, Stewart would lose its 12 C-5A airlifters. “The Air Force has completed its initial analysis of a full range of alternatives and determined that basing the C-17 at Stewart is the preferred alternative,” said Kathleen Ferguson, USAF’s deputy assistant secretary for installations. Air Guard units at Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport at Martinsburg and Memphis International Airport, Tenn., were also in the running. This decision is not yet final as the Air Force must first complete the environmental impact analysis. Bringing the C-17s to Stewart is part of the Air Force’s broader plan to retire 22 C-5As from the Air Guard and Air Force Reserve Command. (See also Where are the C-5As)
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.