Barnes Officially Assumes Air Sovereignty Alert Mission
By Senior Airman Matthew Benedetti, Public Affairs, 104th Fighter Wing
/ Published May 02, 2010
Barnes Air National Guard Base, 104 Fighter Wing - Westfield, Mass -- On a brilliant spring afternoon, the 104th Fighter Wing officially took over duties associated with the Air Sovereignty Alert mission in a ribbon cutting ceremony held at Barnes ANGB. This historic event that took place on April 10, 2010 marks the opening of the Air Sovereignty Alert facility, renovated fire station and up- graded storage facility. The wing accepted the alert mission from the Vermont Air National Guard on February 15, 2010, and has been on active alert status since that time.
Several distinguished guests were in attendance including, Maj. Gen. Garry Dean, the First Air Force Commander, Maj. Gen. Patrick Moisio, the Deputy Director of the Air National Guard, Maj. Gen. Joseph Carter, the MA Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. George Keefe (Ret), Maj. Gen. Michael Akey, the Commander of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, Brig. Gen. Thomas Sellars, Commander of the Massachusetts National Guard, Lt. Gen. L. Scott Rice, Assistant Adjutant General Massachusetts National Guard, Westfield's Mayor Dan Knapik, State Senator Michael Knapik and State Representative Donald Humason.
The new unit is a component of a strategic force poised to respond to any airborne threats over New England.
"The ribbon cutting event signifies the completion of nearly 5 years of construction associated with the new mission," said Col. Robert T. Brooks, 104th Fighter Wing Commander. "In total, these projects represent nearly $30 million in economic stimulus into the Westfield region."
Maj. Gen. Michael Akey is pleased with the new mission, "We're providing air support. It's part of a network, to whatever the president calls upon. So, we're ready to go 24/7."
The Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Joseph Carter said, "the ceremony is in honor of the Westfield community and marks a significant milestone in the history of the 104th Fighter Wing - I thank each and every one of you for your commitment to excellence." He also specifically commended the Barnes ANG Fire Department. "During the construction period they had to conduct their operations in temporary facilities, and did so with no loss of effectiveness." Maj. Gen. Carter went on to thank Chief Lamour and all the members of the fire department for their commitment to the mission.
Maj. Gen. Garry Dean made a special trip from Tyndall AFB in Florida to attend the ceremony. "When I look at the history of this unit, I know that you can stand proud of the legacy that you have established. In my role as the Joint Forces Air Component Commander to Northcom, I see a proud record and culture of excellence at the 104th. I look forward to the years ahead performing our nation's number one mission-defending the homeland", he said. "It is a true Guard mission. The reason that I am so excited is that I know you are going to be there because you have been here for our country for over 60 years," added Maj. Gen. Dean.
"Congratulations to the great 104th for a seamless conversion from the A-10 to the F-15. Thank you for picking up the incredibly important ASA mission for the National Guard," said Maj. Gen. Patrick Moisio.