Major cuts are headed to Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee, Massachusetts. The reductions are partly due to ongoing federal budget cuts.
Brigadier General Steve Vautrain commands the 439th Airlift Wing at Westover. He says half of the Wing’s 16 C-5 transport planes will be transferred to Texas starting next March. As a result, he says 334 positions, or about 13% of the Wing’s workforce, will be lost later that year.
“The 334 is made up of 59 full-time people and 275 part-time or our traditional reservists,” he adds.
Vautrain says the Wing should be able to absorb the full-timers into other positions. But he says it will be more difficult to retain the reservists because of the large number involved.
“If we can keep them here through vacancies, retraining, putting them in other positions, double-billeting, whatever we can, we’ll do that to keep them here. If we can’t keep them at Westover, we’ll keep them locally by working with surrounding states and units, so they can still serve their country as citizen airmen and be able to stay in the area,” he says.
Vautrain says the final number of job losses will be known in about a month.