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Proposal Could Move Planes from Westover

Westover C-5b Tails

 

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WGGB) — It’s looking more and more likely that Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee will lose half its C-5 fleet.

We’ve all seen the the huge C-5 cargo planes flying over Western Massachusetts. They are an integral part of Westover’s mission.

The C-5′s have flown on missions of mercy and transported military personnel and equipment all over the world.

There are currently sixteen C-5′s stationed at Westover.

Proposed changes would cut that number in half says Lt. Col. James Bishop. “The proposal is to transfer eight of our C-5′s to a unit in Lackland. This is based on the National Defense Authorization Act,” says Col. Bishop.

Before they’re transferred though, the C-5B’s will be upgraded to C-5M’s at a cost of $90 million per plane. “The upgrades will mean they’re quieter, more efficient, more fuel-efficient and they are more mission ready,” says Col. Bishop.

While plans call for Westover to lose eight of its C-5′s, Colonel Bishop says Westover will remain a vital part of our country’s defense.

“Under the proposal, Westover stays Westover. We did $25 million of base construction last year. We have Army, Navy, Marines. We have about 5,500 people on base. Westover remains a vital part of national security,” says Col. Bishop.

Colonel Bishop also said at this point, there’s no indication that there would be a reduction of personnel as a result of the reduction in the C-5 count at Westover.

If given final approval, the transfer of the eight C-5′s wouldn’t take place until 2016.

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WGGB encourages readers to share their thoughts and engage in healthy dialogue about the issues. Comments containing personal attacks, profanity, offensive language or advertising will be removed. Please use the report comment function for any posts you feel should be reviewed. Thank you.
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