WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Governor Charlie Baker was in Westfield Friday night to mark a multi-million dollar improvement at Barnes Air National Guard base.
The state’s highest ranking Massachusetts National Guard officer was also on hand to celebrate the renovation and the reopening of the 104th Fighter Group’s main hangar. The 104th Fighter Wing’s F-15’s will undergo maintenance here.
The more-than-$12-million renovation took years to complete.
SSgt. Alex Laftsidis from the 104th told 22News, “It looks like it’s actually from this century. So we have the updated doors, a little bit more space. The floor has much better grip qualities. We have updated power for the aircraft and for the equipment we need to accomplish the job. It’s a lot nicer working here.”
The more-than-50,000-square-foot facility can hold up to six F15s to undergo maintenance. The F-15’s are taken out of service for maintenance every 400 flight hours.
Governor Baker said the hangar upgrades will help keep the aircraft constantly ready to respond at a moment’s notice.
U.S. Representative Richard Neal (D – MA) joined the dignitaries at the reopening. He said, “Every single day what happens here at Westfield is critical to the defense of the nation, and to the economy of western Massachusetts.”
Senator Elizabeth Warren, who also attended, said, “They know that it means jobs, but they also know that they’re there to support the people who are really protecting the United States of America.”
The renovation turned the 1950s hangar into a state of the art facility.