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Griffiss Airfield Airport



Griffiss Air Force Base

Part of Strategic Air Command
Rome, New York

USGS 1997 Aerial Photo
Type Air Force Base
Coordinates 43°13′50.955″N 75°24′34.707″W / 43.23082083°N 75.40964083°W / 43.23082083; -75.40964083
Built 1941-1942
In use 1942-1994

This article is about the former United States Air Force base in New York. For the USAF base in Texas of a similar name, see Carswell Air Force Base.
For the civil use of this facility and airport information, see Griffiss International Airport

Griffiss Air Force Base, is a former United States Air Force base, located in Rome, New York, about 15 mi NW of Utica. Missions at Griffiss AFB included fighter interceptors, electronic research, installation, and support activities, aerial refueling, and bombers. The airfield is now the site of Griffiss International Airport.

Major Commands

  • USAAF Materiel Div, February 1, 1942 (rdsgd Materiel Comd, March 16, 1942)
  • USAAF Materiel and Services, July 17, 1944 (rdsgd AAF Technical Service Comd, August 31, 1944
  • Air Technical Service Comd, July 1, 1945
  • Air Materiel Comd, March 9, 1946)
  • Air Research and Development Command, April 2, 1951
  • Air Materiel Command, July 1, 1954
Redesignated: Air Force Logistics Command, April 1, 1961
  • Strategic Air Command, July 1, 1970 – June 1, 1992
  • Air Combat Command, June 1, 1992 – September 30, 1995
  • Air Force Materiel Command, October 1, 1995–present

Major units assigned

  • Rome Air Depot, February 1, 1942 – January 3, 1955
  • Rome Air Material Area, February 1, 1943 – June 25, 1947
  • 4104th Army Air Force Base Unit, April 1, 1944 – April 15, 1945
  • 65th Reconnaissance Group, December 27, 1946 – June 27, 1949
  • 1st Fighter-Interceptor Group, August 15, 1950 – June 3, 1951
71st Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, August 15 – October 21, 1950
27th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, August 15, 1950 – October 1, 1959
  • 6530th Air Base Wing, June 12, 1951 – August 1, 1952
  • Rome Air Force Depot, January 3, 1955 – April 1, 1967
  • 465th Air Refueling Squadron, October 8, 1955 – July 1, 1959
  • 2856th Air Base Wing, February 16, 1958 – July 1, 1970
  • 4247th Air Defense Group, February 8, 1957 – October 15, 1959
49th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, July 1, 1959 – July 7, 1987
  • HQ, Northeast Air Defense Sector, January 1, 1960 – October 1, 1979
  • 4039th Strategic Wing, August 1, 1958 – February 1, 1963
  • 41st Air Refueling Squadron, January 5, 1959–1992
  • 416th Bombardment Wing, February 1, 1963–1995
  • 485th Engineering Installation Group 1972–1995
  • 21st Air Division, August 31 – September 23, 1983
  • 24th Air Division, December 1, 1983 – September 30, 1990
  • 509th Air Refueling Squadron, July 1, 1990 – October 1, 1994
  • 2019th Information Systems Squadron, 1955–1996

History

Griffiss Air Force Base is a former United States Air Force base located near Rome, New York. Ground was broken on August 2, 1941 for the Rome Air Depot, to be completed in 1942. After a series of names and realignments, the base was finally named Griffiss Air Force Base in 1948. The base was named in honor of Lt Col Townsend E. Griffiss (1900–1942). Colonel Griffiss died during World War II on a flight to England from the Soviet Union. While returning from an evaluation of ferrying routes for lend lease aircraft on February 15, 1942, RAF pilots mistook him for an enemy and shot his aircraft down southwest of Plymouth. Col. Griffiss was the first U.S. airman to be killed in the line of duty in the European Theater.

Origins

On April 3, 1941, the War Department began looking for an area to construct an Air Depot in central New York. Orders to begin construction came from the War Department on June 23, 1941. Facilities were completed in February 1942, and flight operations on the depot airfield began on February 18, 1942.

Rome Air Depot

On February 1, 1942, the Rome Air Depot was activated and throughout World War II the depot provided aircraft engine maintenance and repair, and trained air depot groups in engine repair. With the end of the war and the sharp reduction of AAF aircraft operations, activities were sharply curtailed in the fall of 1945. The Rome Air Depot continued operations well into the 1960s as an Air Force Logistics Command Air Materiel Area (AMA) supporting USAF electronics and RADAR systems. The depot began a phasedown in the early 1960s, with the depot closing in 1967 with its functions being transferred to other AFLC Air Materiel Areas.

Air Defense

Although many aircraft landed at Griffiss during the war, the airfield had no permanently stationed flying units. It wasn't until after World War II, that the Air Force Reserve 65th Reconnaissance Group conducted aerial photo and mapping operations from Griffiss from December 27, 1946 until being inactivated on June 27, 1949.


A 49th FIS F-106A in 1970.
A 49th FIS F-106A in 1970.

T-33As of the 49th FIS on the ramp at Griffiss AFB, 1984.
T-33As of the 49th FIS on the ramp at Griffiss AFB, 1984.

On October 3, 1950 that the Air Defense Command (ADC) 1st Fighter-Interceptor Group became the first permanently assigned USAF flying unit at Griffiss. ADC units were stationed at the for the next 30 years as Griffiss became a center for the Northeast air defense mission, and was headquarters of the Northeast Air Defense Sector. The 4727th Air Defense Group, equipped with F-89J came to Griffiss in February 1957.

In May 1959, the 465th Fighter Interceptor Squadron was assigned to Griffiss with F-89 Scorpion all-weather fighters. Late the next year, the 49th Fighter Interceptor Squadron assumed operational control over the 465th and became a major tenant at Griffiss. The 49th operated F-101 Voodoos until late 1968, when it was re-equipped with F-106 Delta Darts. The 49th was the last operational unit to fly the F-106s, prior to being deactivated July 1, 1987.

The 49th Fighter Interceptor Squadron replaced the 4727th ADG in October 1959 and converted from the McDonnell F-101 Voodoo to the Convair F-106 Delta darts in late 1968. The 49th FIS was inactivated at Griffiss AFB on July 1, 1987, when the air defense mission was transferred to the Air National Guard.

Beginning in 1960, Griffiss became the headquarters of the Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS). NEADS was responsible for defending a half million square miles of air space including New York City, Washington D.C., Chicago and other major cities. The base had been home also for the 24th Air Division since September 1983, following a major overhaul of the air defense force structure. Its air defense responsibility was to equip, administer and train combat-ready forces for the northeast United States. In 1987, the 24th Air Division's area of responsibility was expanded as part of a major restructuring of North American air defense and following the inactivation of the 23rd Air Division at Tyndall AFB, the 24th became responsible for the entire eastern United States. The 24th AD was inactivated on September 30, 1990.

Rome Laboratory

Electronic research began at the Rome Air Depot in 1949. The Watson Laboratory complex was transferred to Rome from Red Bank, New Jersey between 1950 and 1951. The Rome Air Development Center was begun at the base on June 12, 1951, as a response to the specific electronics needs of air forces learned by the U.S. Army Signal Corps during the war. The RADC would be renamed to Rome Laboratory in 1991 as a response to its changing role in research and development.

Strategic Air Command


Master plan for Griffiss
Master plan for Griffiss

which is the current designation of the unit

The 4039th Strategic Wing of Strategic Air Command was activated as an associate unit at Griffiss AFB in January 1959. In a effort to perpetuate the lineage of many units with illustrious World War II records, SAC devised a program to activate Air Force-controlled units inactivated at the end of World War II. On February 1, 1963, the 4039th Strategic Wing was redesignated the 416th Bombardment Wing. Similarly, the 75th BMS, a unit of the 4039th, became the 668th Bombardment Squadron, one of the four squadrons previously assigned to the 416th BG.

The 41st Air Refueling Squadron and the 56th Munitions Maintenance Squadron were reassigned to the 416th BMW and retained their designations. The 41st Air Refueling Squadron was activated on January 1, 1959, flying the Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker, to provide aerial refueling for SAC bombers. KC-135A 58-0030 nicknamed "City of Rome" was the first tanker assigned to the 41st AREFS

The wing's tankers deployed to Clark AB in the Philippines in December 1964 to provide aerial refueling of tactical combat aircraft operating in Southeast Asia. By July, the wing's tankers and crews began supporting B-52 Arc light missions. The wing's first bomber crew deployed to the theater in June 1968. At times during this era, more than half of the wing's B-52 crews were on temporary duty in Southeast Asia.

Another milestone in the 416th BW history occurred in July 1970 when the wing assumed host responsibility of Griffiss AFB. The base passed from the Air Force Logistics Command to the Strategic Air Command. The 416th received its first Short Range Attack Missile in November 1972. By June 1973, each of the wing's aircraft had been modified to carry up to 20 missiles on wing pylons and on a rotary launcher in the bomb bay. Congress announced in May 1979 that the 416th BW would be the first wing to receive the Air launched cruise missile (ALCM). The wing received two Air Launched Cruise Missiles on January 11, 1981. These missiles were initially used for environmental testing and maintenance training. On August 15, 1981, the first B-52G modified to carry the missile was returned to the wing and the first ALCM training flight was launched September 15, 1981. On September 21, 1982, the wing conducted the first ALCM operational test launch by an operational wing. The 416th received the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award in recognition of its work with the ALCM.

Beginning in November 1987, Griffiss AFB became home to the United States Army 10th Aviation Brigade. The Brigade was part of the reactivated 10th Mountain Division and remained at Griffiss until facilities were constructed for the division at Ft. Drum. The brigade flew three types of helicopters; the UH-1 for transport, the AH-1F for attack and the OH-58A for reconnaissance, at the time.

In May 1990, the wing began re-engining its KC-135 fleet with High Bypass Turbofan engines. The now designed KC-135R had extended range, increased power, noise reductions and more importantly, could give more fuel to receivers since its new engines were consuming a lot less. By July 1990, the wing's last KC-135A had undergone the re-engining process, just in time to display its new capabilities in Operations Desert Shield and Storm.

The 509th Air Refueling Squadron was formally activated at Griffiss AFB on September 20, 1990 with the newest tanker model, the KC-135R. The 509th was assigned to the 509th BW until 1990. In Desert Storm, the wing's B-52s and crews flew 148 combat sorties for more than 11,000 flying hours dropping 6,274 bombs equaling 4,394,350 pounds of ordnance, while the KC-135s flew 1,100 sorties and transferred 100 million pounds of fuel. On May 9, 1991, B-52G 58-0225 "Mohawk Valley" piloted by the Wing's Commander, Col.Mike Loughran, landed at Griffiss AFB for the last time to be preserved on base.

In July 1991, the 416th BW began converting from the B-52G to the H model. The upgrade was concluded in October 1991 when the wing received its last B-52H. The 416th BW was redesignated the 416th Wing on September 1, 1991. Concurrent with the redesignation was a complete restructuring of the wing, eliminating the three deputy commander levels and organizing the wing into a four-group structure; the 416th Operations, 416th Logistics, 416th Support and 416th Medical groups.

With the inactivation of Strategic Air Command, the 416th Wing was assigned to the new Air Combat Command on June 1, 1992. Under ACC, the wing was redesignated the 416th Bomb Wing and realigned under Ninth Air Force. The Wing's KC-135R were reassigned to the 380th Air Refueling Wing at Plattsburgh AFB under the newly activated Air Mobility Command. The 41st ARS was inactivated on February 15, 1993. The 509 ARS remained at Griffiss until the unit was inactivated.

BRAC Realignment

Griffiss AFB was realigned for civilian and non-combat purposes in the early 1990s. The base's final "Commander's Day" was held on August 13, 1994 with many neighboring units attending this final open house. November saw the 416th BW transfer its last B-52H with the aircraft being reassigned to Minot AFB and the 5th Bomb Wing.

The 416th Bomb Wing was officially deactivated on September 30, 1995 and USAF flight operations at Griffiss AFB ended.

The facilty is now home to the Griffiss Business and Technology Park, and it is still home to the Rome Research Site of the Air Force Research Lab. At its peak, the base was the largest employer in Oneida County, New York.

The base was designated a Superfund site in 1987. Griffiss was the site of the Woodstock 1999 concert festival. The base was chosen for its defensibility.



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Griffiss Airfield Airport picture


Location & QuickFacts

FAA Information Effective:2008-09-25
Airport Identifier:RME
Airport Status:Operational
Longitude/Latitude:075-24-25.3000W/43-14-01.7000N
-75.407028/43.233806 (Estimated)
Elevation:504 ft / 153.62 m (Surveyed)
Land:1680 acres
From nearest city:1 nautical miles W of Rome, NY
Location:Oneida County, NY
Magnetic Variation:12W (1980)

Owner & Manager

Ownership:Publicly owned
Owner:County Of Oneida
Address:Oneida County Office Building, 800 Park Ave.
Utica, NY 13501
Phone number:315-798-5800
Manager:Roger B. Sorrell
Address:592 Hangar Rd, Suite 200
Rome, NY 13424
Phone number:315-736-4171

Airport Operations and Facilities

Airport Use:Open to public
Wind indicator:Yes
LIGHTED SUPPLEMENTAL WIND CONES LOCATED AT EACH RWY END.
Segmented Circle:Yes
Control Tower:Yes
Lighting Schedule:DUSK-DAWN
WHEN ATCT CLSD ACTVT HIRL RY 15/33, SSALS RY 15, ALSF1 RY 33, & TWY LGTS - CTAF. WHEN ATCT CLSD ALSF1 RY 15 OR 33 SET FOR PREVAILING WIND. WHEN WIND CALM ALFSF1 SET FOR RY 33.
Beacon Color:Clear-Green (lighted land airport)
Sectional chart:New York
Region:AEA - Eastern
Boundary ARTCC:ZBW - Boston
Tie-in FSS:BUF - Buffalo
FSS on Airport:No
FSS Toll Free:1-800-WX-BRIEF
NOTAMs Facility:RME (NOTAM-d service avaliable)
Certification type/date:IV A U 01/200
PPR 24 HRS FOR ACR OPNS WITH MORE THAN 30 PSGR SEATS CALL AMGR 315-736-9404. INDEX "B" ARFF COVERAGE PRVDD.
Federal Agreements:N

Airport Communications

CTAF:118.100
Unicom:122.950 

Airport Services

Fuel available:100LLA
Airframe Repair:MAJOR
Power Plant Repair:MAJOR
Bottled Oxygen:NONE

Runway Information

Runway 15/33

Dimension:11820 x 200 ft / 3602.7 x 61.0 m
Surface:CONC, Good Condition
Surface Treatment:Saw-cut or plastic Grooved
Weight Limit:Single wheel: 100000 lbs.
Dual wheel: 240000 lbs.
Dual tandem wheel: 500000 lbs.
Edge Lights:High
 

Runway 15

Runway 33

Longitude:075-25-22.6738W075-23-27.9413W
Latitude:43-14-42.2715N43-13-21.0848N
Elevation:504.00 ft498.00 ft
Alignment:127127
ILS Type:ILS ILS
Traffic Pattern:LeftRight
Markings:Precision instrument, Good ConditionPrecision instrument, Good Condition
Crossing Height:0.00 ft50.00 ft
VASI:4-light PAPI on left side
Visual Glide Angle:0.00°3.00°
Approach lights:SSALSALSF1

Radio Navigation Aids

ID Type Name Ch Freq Var Dist
BKNDBPlein329.0012W3.4 nm
CJYNDBClay275.0012W12.6 nm
JJHNDBJohnstown523.0014W49.2 nm
GSSTACANGriffiss057X 12W0.2 nm
RKAVOR/DMERockdale073X112.6011W46.7 nm
UCAVORTACUtica049X111.2012W16.4 nm
GGTVORTACGeorgetown125X117.8011W32.5 nm
SYRVORTACSyracuse117X117.0011W35.2 nm

Remarks

  • LAKE EFFECT; CEILING & VISIBILITY RAPIDLY DCRS TO LESS THAN 300/1 IN SNOW SQUALL WTH SFC WINDS 290-310 DEGS BTN NOV-APR.
  • RY 15/33 50 FT WIDE PAVED SHOULDERS.
  • BIRD HAZARD; OCCASIONAL HEAVY CONCENTRATION OF GULLS; CROWS; STARLINGS & MIGRATORY FLOCKS FM AUG-NOV & APR-MAY.
  • PORTIONS OF APRON NOT VISIBLE FROM ATCT.
  • PRVDD VFR ONLY; CLEAR 20:1 APCH/DEP PATH.

Images and information placed above are from
http://www.airport-data.com/airport/RME/

We thank them for the data!


General Info
Country United States
State NEW YORK
FAA ID RME
Latitude 43-14-01.675N
Longitude 075-24-25.320W
Elevation 504 feet
Near City ROME


We don't guarantee the information is fresh and accurate. The data may be wrong or outdated.
For more up-to-date information please refer to other sources.














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