WESTFIELD, Mass. - On a brilliant spring afternoon, the 104th Fighter Wingofficially took over duties associated with the Air SovereigntyAlert mission in a ribbon cutting ceremony held at Barnes ANGB.This historic event that took place on April 10, 2010 marks theopening of the Air Sovereignty Alert facility, renovated firestation and up- graded storage facility. The wing accepted thealert 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. PatrickMoisio, 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 MassachusettsAir National Guard, Brig. Gen. Thomas Sellars, Commander of theMassachusetts National Guard, Lt. Gen. L. Scott Rice, AssistantAdjutant General Massachusetts National Guard, Westfield's MayorDan Knapik, State Senator Michael Knapik and State RepresentativeDonald Humason.
The new unit is a component of a strategic force poised torespond to any airborne threats over New England.
"The ribbon cutting event signifies the completion of nearly 5years of construction associated with the new mission," said Col.Robert T. Brooks, 104th Fighter Wing Commander. "In total, theseprojects represent nearly $30 million in economic stimulus into theWestfield region."
Maj. Gen. Michael Akey is pleased with the new mission, "We'reproviding air support. It's part of a network, to whatever thepresident calls upon. So, we're ready to go 24/7."
The Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Joseph Carter said, "theceremony is in honor of the Westfield community and marks asignificant milestone in the history of the 104th Fighter Wing - Ithank 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 theiroperations in temporary facilities, and did so with no loss ofeffectiveness." Maj. Gen. Carter went on to thank Chief Lamour andall the members of the fire department for their commitment to themission.
Maj. Gen. Garry Dean made a special trip from Tyndall AFB inFlorida to attend the ceremony. "When I look at the history of thisunit, I know that you can stand proud of the legacy that you haveestablished. In my role as the Joint Forces Air Component Commanderto Northcom, I see a proud record and culture of excellence at the104th. I look forward to the years ahead performing our nation'snumber one mission-defending the homeland", he said. "It is a trueGuard mission. The reason that I am so excited is that I know youare going to be there because you have been here for our countryfor over 60 years," added Maj. Gen. Dean.
"Congratulations to the great 104th for a seamless conversionfrom the A-10 to the F-15. Thank you for picking up the incrediblyimportant ASA mission for the National Guard," said Maj. Gen.Patrick Moisio.