Francis S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base

Francis S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base is an air defense military installation located at civilian public-use Francis S. Gabreski Airport, located just north of Westhampton Beach, New York. It is currently the home base of the New York Air National Guard's 106th Rescue Wing.[3]

Francis S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base
Near Westhampton Beach, New York in the United States of America
HH-60G Pave Hawks of the 106th Rescue Wing at Francis S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base.
HH-60G Pave Hawks of the 106th Rescue Wing at Francis S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base.
US-AirNationalGuard-2007Emblem.svg
Francis S. Gabreski ANGB is located in the United States
Francis S. Gabreski ANGB
Francis S. Gabreski ANGB
Location in the United States
Coordinates40°50′21″N 072°38′29″W / 40.83917°N 72.64139°W / 40.83917; -72.64139 (Francis S. Gabreski ANGB)[1]
TypeAir National Guard Base
Site information
OwnerSuffolk County
OperatorUS Air Force (USAF)
Controlled byNew York Air National Guard
ConditionOperational
Websitewww.106rqw.ang.af.mil
Site history
Built1943 (1943) (as Suffolk County Army Air Field)
In use1943 – present
Garrison information
Current
commander
Colonel Michael W. Bank Jr.
Garrison106th Rescue Wing
Airfield information
IdentifiersIATA: FOK, ICAO: KFOK, FAA LID: FOK, WMO: 744865
Elevation20.1 metres (66 ft) AMSL
Runways
Direction Length and surface
6/24 2,743.5 metres (9,001 ft) Asphalt/Concrete
15/33 1,524.9 metres (5,003 ft) Asphalt
1/19 1,524.3 metres (5,001 ft) Asphalt/Concrete
Airfield shared with Francis S. Gabreski Airport
Source: Federal Aviation Administration[2]

HistoryEdit

Suffolk County Army Air FieldEdit

The Suffolk County Army Air Field was built in 1943 as a United States Army Air Forces sub-base of Mitchel Field. Later assigned to First Air Force, the 437th Army Air Force Base Unit defended the New York City area and flew antisubmarine patrols. After World War II, the airfield was conveyed to Suffolk County for use as a civilian airport, but to include a reversal clause if future military use was ever needed.

Suffolk County Air Force BaseEdit

Renamed when the United States Air Force reclaimed the airport in 1951, Suffolk County Air Force Base was part of the Eastern Air Defense Force's defense of the NYC metro area. The Air National Guard's 103rd Fighter-Interceptor Wing (103 FIW), along with the 118th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron and its F-47N Thunderbolts,[4] was federalized on March 2, 1951 and moved from Brainard Field, Connecticut, to Suffolk County AFB on June 1. The 103 FIW was returned to state control on February 6, 1952 and remained briefly at Suffolk County until replaced by the 45th and 75th Fighter-Interceptor Squadrons in November 1952, flying the F-86 Sabre as part of the 23rd Fighter-Interceptor Group (23 FIG).

In 1955, the 23 FIG was reassigned to Presque Isle Air Force Base and replaced by the newly activated 52nd Fighter-Interceptor Wing (52 FIW), which flew under various designations from Suffolk County AFB until 1969, with the 2d and 5th Fighter-Interceptor Squadrons flying F-94 Starfire, F-101 Voodoo and F-102 Delta Dagger interceptors. In 1963, the 52 FIW was renamed the 52nd Fighter Wing (Air Defense) and became part of the New York Air Defense Sector (NY ADS), the NY ADS being one of four USAF air defense sectors employing the Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) system.

Suffolk County AFB was also the main support base for the Suffolk County Missile Annex, a nearby USAF CIM-10 Bomarc surface-to-air missile launch complex for the defense of the New York City metropolitan area under the control of a missile launch control center at McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey.

As a result of funding shortfalls for the Vietnam War that resulted in the closure of numerous stateside air force bases and naval air stations, Suffolk County AFB deactivated in 1969 and the military installation was again transferred to the Suffolk County government for use as a civilian airport.

Francis S. Gabreski Air National Guard BaseEdit

 
Pararescuemen from the 103d Rescue Squadron rappel from the top of a parachute drying facility to conduct confined space rescue training.

Suffolk County Airport (Francis S. Gabreski Airport after 1991) operated without a military unit until June 1970 when the 102nd Air Refueling Squadron of the New York Air National Guard relocated from Naval Air Station Floyd Bennett Field with its KC-97 Stratofreighters. In 1972, the 102d switched to F-102 Delta Daggers and became the 102d Fighter-Interceptor Squadron. In 1975, the unit had another mission change and became an Aerospace Rescue and Recovery squadron, later renamed the 102nd Rescue Squadron in 1995.

Today, the 106th Rescue Wing uses HC-130P Hercules and HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters for both peacetime and combat search and rescue.

Based unitsEdit

Flying and notable non-flying units based at Francis S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base.[5]

United States Air ForceEdit

Air National Guard

In popular cultureEdit

The book The Perfect Storm and the film by the same name detail the crash of one of the 106th's HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopters while conducting civilian search and rescue operations from the airport during the 1991 Perfect Storm.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Francis S. Gabreski Airport ()". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2013-05-09.
  2. ^ "Airport Diagram – Francis S. Gabreski (FOK)" (PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. 27 February 2020. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
  3. ^ "Suffolk County Looks to Enhance Air National Guard at Gabreski Airport with Submission of Application for $126,000 NYESD Grant" (press release). Suffolk "County Executive". 2012-08-29. Retrieved 2013-05-09. Stationed at Francis S. Gabreski Airport, just three miles north of the central business district of Westhampton Beach, the famed 106th Rescue Wing...Recent studies indicate that 1,146 full and part-time jobs and $89.2 million in expenditures are a direct result of Gabreski’s on-airport business. ... Westhampton Business District, an industrial park on airport grounds.
  4. ^ [dead link]"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2005-12-23. Retrieved 2005-10-18.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Suffolk County Air Force Base (ADC)
  5. ^ "Units". 106th Rescue Wing. US Air Force. Retrieved 24 March 2020.