Westover Air Reserve Base has been in operation since 1940 and served as a bomber training base and port of embarkation/ debarkation during World War II.
Following the war, the base was a staging point for the Berlin Airlift, a headquarters of the Military Air Transport Service system until April 1955.
From that time until 1974, the base was a major Strategic Air Command installation. Since May 19, 1974 Westover has been an Air Force Reserve Command base. From that time until October, 1987 the 439th Tactical Airlift Wing operated C-130 Hercules and C-123 Provider aircraft.
The wing converted to C-5As in 1987 and the unit eventually became designated as the 439th Airlift Wing.
Westover is the nation’s largest Air Force Reserve base, and is home to more than 5,500 military and civilian workers.
The mission of the wing is to provide worldwide air movement of troops, supplies, equipment and medical patients. The 337th Airlift Squadron is the wing’s flying unit, and operates the C-5B Galaxy. The C-5 specializes in missions involving outsized and oversized cargo that no other aircraft can carry.
The C-5 Galaxy
The largest aircraft in the U.S. Air Force, the C-5 was built to carry outsize bulk cargo worldwide. Design features include drive through vehicle loading, separate passenger compartment, airdrop capability and unimproved short field landings. With a maximum weight of 840,000 pounds, it can carry 200,000 pounds of cargo over 4200 nautical miles.
• The interior and exterior paint on the C-5 weighs 2600 pounds.
• The distance of the first flight by the Wright brothers was less than the length of the C-5 cargo floor.
• The cargo compartment of the C-5 will hold 100 model 113 (Beetle) Volkswagens, 106 Vegas, 90 Ramblers, 58 Cadillacs, or 6 standard Greyhound buses.
• More than 100 miles of wiring are required to functionally operate all C-5 aircraft systems.
• The C-5 carries enough fuel for the average American car to make 130 round trips between New York and Los Angeles, or 31 trips around the world.
• Each C-5 engine gulps approximately 42 tons of air per minute.
• The cargo compartment of the C-5 is large enough to hold an eight-lane bowling alley.
• The total engine power of a C-5 equals that produced by 800 average cars.