Air Force Bases

McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey

Air Mobility Command assigns its active-duty resources to two numbered air forces, the 15th Air Force at Travis AFB, Calif., and the 21st Air Force at McGuire AFB, NJ. The Air Mobility Warfare Center is located at Fort Dix, N.J., adjacent to McGuire AFB, NJ. One of the responsibilities of the center is the Global Reach Laydown Packages system for contingency or war.

McGuire Air Force Base, the only Air Force base in New Jersey, is located 18 miles south of Trenton, the state capital, in Burlington County and is the home of the 305th Air Mobility Wing. The base is named in honor of the late Major B. McGuire Jr., of Ridgewood, N.J., a Medal of Honor recipient who was the second leading air ace in World War II before being killed in action in January 1945.

McGuire AFB is located in beautiful south central New Jersey, approximately 15 miles from Trenton, 45 minutes from Philadelphia and Atlantic City, and 90 minutes from New York City. The distance from McGuire AFB to Washington DC is 154 miles. The distance to the New Jersey state capital is 15 miles. McGuire AFB and Fort Dix are adjacent Wrightstown, New Jersey. Access to the base from the north is via County Route 528. From the south, access is gained by way of County Route 545. The New Jersey Turnpike is to the west of the base with a McGuire/Fort Dix exit providing access. Direct access to the base can be had from the west via County Route 537 directly to Gate 2.

McGuire AFB has two active runways, 06/24 and 18/36.

McGuire AFB is located in New Hanover Township in Burlington County, New Jersey. Burlington County is the largest county in the state of New Jersey, having a size of 530,000 acres. The predominant land uses in the county are agriculture and low-density residential (USAF, 1994b). There has been major development throughout the past decade along the area's main transportation routes (Interstate 295, and Routes 70 and 72). More than 50 percent of Burlington County is in the New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve. One million acres of primarily undeveloped mixed forest protected by the New Jersey Pinelands Protection Act of 1979.

McGuire AFB is located within the northern edge of the New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve. The Pinelands Commission, which was established to manage the entire reserve, has the authority to review all development plans and zoning documents for counties, townships, and municipalities within the reserve's limits, and reviews certain activities on military and federal installation areas. Land uses on McGuire AFB include administrative, aircraft operations and maintenance, airfield, community, housing (family), housing (unaccompanied), industrial, medical, open space, outdoor recreation, and water. The majority of the 3,596 acre base is airfield, supporting the two active and one inactive runways.

As of 1995, McGuire AFB employed more than 11,500 people, including approximately 1,500 civilians. The composition of the remaining employees includes over 5,700 military personnel, 3,000 Air Force Reserve members, and nearly 1,500 Air National Guard personnel. The base's 1995 annual payroll was nearly $203 million. Additionally, approximately 12,000 retirees live within a 40-mile radius of the base and utilize McGuire AFB facilities and services.

There are 1,753 family housing units plus 176 mobile home lots on McGuire AFB to house base personnel plus dependents. Dormitories on base provide housing for 3,467 unaccompanied personnel, including visitor quarters. The base also has 164 temporary lodging facilities.

The 305th Air Mobility Wing, and several tenant organizations including the 21st Air Force and the Air Mobility Warfare Center are based at McGuire. Using C-141B Starlifters, KC-10 Extenders, and KC-135 Stratotankers, McGuire missions support the transportation of troops, passengers, equipment, cargo, mail, and provides aerial refueling throughout the world. McGuire personnel and aircraft participate in worldwide relief efforts frequently.

Known as Rudd Field, and established as a part of the Army in 1937, the base transferred to the Air Force in 1949. The base is named in honor of Major Thomas B. McGuire, Jr., the second leading American Air Ace of World War ll and posthumous recipient of the Medal of Honor.

The McGuire Air Force Base site (MAFB) is an active facility that occupies more than 3,500 acres in a rural area of Burlington County, New Jersey. The base is bordered to the north by the community of Wrightstown, and to the east, south, and west by the U.S. Army's Fort Dix military installation. MAFB is located within the boundaries of the Pinelands National Reserve. The Pinelands are classified a s Federal Land designated for the Protection of Natural Ecosystems. The primary source for both community and private drinking water supplies in the vicinity of the site is groundwater obtained from the various aquifers comprising the Atlantic Coastal Plain. There are tow major drainage divides on site, and several streams to which surface runoff is directed. An extensive system of wetlands is found along both major surface water drainage pathways.

MAFB originated in 1937 as an adjunct to the U.S. Army Training Center and Fort Dix. In 1937, the base began as a single dirt-strip runway with a few maintenance and administrative buildings. By 1942, the airfield was supporting World War II efforts. Anti-submarine patrols originated there, and aircraft were crated and flown from the field to European destinations. At one time, parachutists were trained and a secret mission for the development of guided missiles and ground control approach equipment was carried out.

In 1945, it was the western terminus for the return of the wounded from Europe and for the separatees, who were then flown to separation centers throughout the United States.

In 1949, title and function of the base changed as it officially became McGuire AFB. The 91st Reconnaissance Wing, Strategic Air Command arrived with RB-29 and B-50 bombers. Later, Air Defense command and the 52nd Fighter Interceptor Wing took over with F-94 and F-86 jet fighters.

In 1954, the 1611th Air Transport Wing and its C-118 transports arrived, under the command of Military Air Transport Service. In 1962, C-135 jet transports were assigned, and C-130s by 1968. During the Vietnam War, McGuire transported troops and supplies to south Vietnam and, in 1973, airlifted prisoners of war from North Vietnam.

During the 1980s, Team McGuire participated in the Beirut Marine barracks bombing airlift, Grenada rescue effort and the invasion of Panama to oust dictator Manual Noreiga.

Beginning in August 1990, McGuire units supported Operation Desert Shield, the defense of Saudi Arabia. Aircrews and deployed support members began supporting Operation Desert Storm in January 1991. Combat ceased in February, followed by the massive withdrawal of troops and equipment beginning in March. In May 1991, McGuire aircrews began delivering food and supplies to Turkey under Operation Provide Comfort, supplying Iraqi refugees in southern Turkey and northern Iraq.

On June 1, 1992, McGuire became a major part of the newly activated Air Mobility Command, made up of the former Military Airlift Command and Strategic Airlift Command tanker units.

From December 1992 to May 1993, McGuire supported Operation Restore Hope, setting up operations and controlling the flow of aircraft in the peace keeping humanitarian effort in famine-stricken Somalia. In addition, aircrews back at McGuire began airlifting the bulk of the 28,000 military troops and equipment to Somalia. For the next several months, McGuire people played a critical role in resupply operations, troop movements and eventual redeployment of troops in May 1993.

In July 1993, the base was selected to become the East Coast Mobility Center. In conjunction with this announcement, the base received McDonnell Douglas KC-10 Extender tanker/cargo aircraft and close to 1,000 additional people.

In December 1993, AMC officials selected McGuire as the site for the new Air Mobility Warfare Center, which opened in June 1994. In September 1994, the 438th AW inactivated, and the 305th Air Mobility Wing was formed.

The Air Force selected McGuire as the likely site of a new squadron of C-17s in 2004. As of late 2001 McGuire had about 17 C-141 Starlifters attached to the 305th Air Mobility Wing's 6th Airlift Squadron and 514th Reserve Air Mobility Wing; 32 KC-10 Extenders in the 305th Air Mobility Wing and 20 KC-135 Stratotankers in the 108th Air Refueling Wing of the New Jersey Air National Guard. The base recently lost a squadron of C-141 Starlifters about 15 planes as the 1960s-era aircraft is being phased out.

The BRAC III KC-10 Maintenance Hangar Complex built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at McGuire Air Force Base is designed to be a state-of-the-art military aircraft maintenance facility supporting the U. S. Air Force's local KC-10 fleet. The design solution consists of three 102-foot high aircraft servicing bays, each dedicated to a distinct aircraft operation; i.e., aircraft maintenance, corrosion control and fuel cell maintenance, which wrap around a central shop and support core. The maintenance bay portion of this complex is a structural steel space frame that maintains an 80-foot interior clear height to accommodate jacking of the aircraft in either a nose-in or tail-in position. Eighteen (18) feet deep trusses span 200 feet to support future 10 ton bridge crane systems while providing adequate clearances for aircraft maintenance below.

The McGuire AFB radar approach control (RAPCON) provides air traffic control services for aircraft arrivals and departures at the base, other airports in the area, and aircraft transiting through RAPCON airspace. RAPCON controls airspace out to about 25 miles north and northwest, 47 miles to the east, and 20 miles to the south and southwest of the base. Except for a small portion of airspace to the immediate west of the base, airspace from the southwest to northwest of the base is allocated to another control agency and used for arrivals and departures at the Philadelphia International Airport. McGuire RAPCON radar patterns, 80 percent of which are flown to the east of the base, are normally flown at approximately 3,000 feet AGL.

Other airports within the area of influence for aircraft arrival and departure flight tracks at McGuire AFB are the Trenton-Robbinsville Airport 12 miles north, the Allaire Airport 24 miles northeast, Naval Air Engineering Station Lakehurst 11 miles east, the Lakewood Airport 19 miles east, the Miller Airport 14 miles southeast, Atlantic City International Airport 32 miles south, Red Lion Airport 10 miles south-southwest, Flying W Airport 11 miles southwest, the South Jersey Airport 12 miles southwest, Philadelphia International Airport 30 miles southwest, and the Redwing Airport 5 miles north-northwest. Additionally, the western edge of restricted airspace (R-5001) is about 2 miles east and southeast of McGuire AFB. The location and proximity of R-5001 and these airports relative to McGuire AFB require that arriving and departing aircraft be routed to avoid conflict. Likewise, regional aircraft routings are developed, to the maximum extent practicable, to establish common tracks that serve the arrival and departure "flow" for all the airports within the area.

BRAC 2005

In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to close Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove, PA. As a result, would relocate the following units from Willow Grove to McGuire AFB: all Navy and Marine Corps squadrons, their aircraft and necessary personnel, equipment and support; the minimum amount of manpower and equipment to support intermediate maintenance workload and capacity for Tire and Wheel, non-destruction inspections, and Aviation Life Support System equipment. In addition, DoD recommended to realign Cambria Regional Airport, Johnstown, PA, by relocating Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 775 Detachment A, to include all required personnel, equipment, and support, to McGuire AFB.

These recommendations would reduce excess capacity while creating new joint opportunities in the McGuire. Inclusion of the realignment of Cambria Regional Airport in this recommendation would allow the assets currently housed there to be collocated with their headquarters at McGuire Air Force Base. The USAF KC-135E model aircraft (16 primary aircraft) at McGuire Air Force Base, NJ, would retire. The capacity created by the Air Force force structure retirement of KC-135Es (16 primary aircraft authorized) from McGuire Air Force Base would enable the execution of this recommendation. Environmentally, McGuire AFB was in Severe Non-attainment for Ozone (1- Hour). The Air Force indicated that no Air Conformity Determination would be required, but that an air permit revision might be required. There would be potential impacts for cultural, archeological, tribal resources; noise; waste management; water resources; and wetlands as a result of these recommendations.

In another recommendation, DoD recommended to realign New Castle County Airport by moving its flying related Expeditionary Combat Support (ECS) to McGuire AFB, NJ (Aeromedical Squadron).

In another recommendation, DoD would realign Fort Dix, NJ, and Naval Air Engineering Station Lakehurst, NJ, by relocating the installation management functions to McGuire AFB, NJ, establishing Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.

All installations employed military, civilian, and contractor personnel to perform common functions in support of installation facilities and personnel. All installations executed these functions using similar or near similar processes. Because these installations shared a common boundary with minimal distance between the major facilities or are in near proximity, there was significant opportunity to reduce duplication of efforts with resulting reduction of overall manpower and facilities requirements capable of generating savings, which would be realized by paring unnecessary management personnel and achieving greater efficiencies through economies of scale. Intangible savings would be expected to result from opportunities to consolidate and optimize existing and future service contract requirements. Additional opportunities for savings would also be expected to result from establishment of a single space management authority capable of generating greater overall utilization of facilities and infrastructure. Further savings would be expected to result from opportunities to reduce and correctly size both owned and contracted commercial fleets of base support vehicles and equipment consistent with the size of the combined facilities and supported populations. Regional efficiencies achieved as a result of Service regionalization of installation management would provide additional opportunities for overall savings as the designated installations are consolidated under regional management structures.

McGuire's quantitative military value compared to the Fort Dix quantitative military value score was too close to be the sole factor for determining the receiving installation for installation management functions. Military judgment favored McGuire AFB as the receiving installation for the installation management functions because of its mission in support of operational forces compared to Fort Dix, which had a primary mission of support for Reserve Component training. As an installation accustomed to supporting operational forces, it was the military judgment of the JCSG that McGuire would be better able to perform those functions for both locations.

History of the BOMARC at McGuire can be found here.