Gratitude Journal: My Local Air Reserve Base

VRAAAAAAAAAMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!

A wall of sound exploded into the barn without warning. And, gracelessly, the cows moved as far and fast from the noise as possible – huddling in the back of the barn. That many cows moving that quickly can be a dangerous thing – dangerous for the animals and dangerous for the farmers.

The helicopter above, of course, didn’t realize the commotion it had caused and headed on. This summer, a new route was sending helicopters whipping around the edge of the Mount Holyoke Range and sailing straight over the end of the barn.

This was obviously a really big, really loud problem.

In July, we got in contact with the Public Relations Office at Westover Air Reserve Base. And we are very glad that we did!

Westover doesn’t have helicopters, but they were able to identify the helicopters in our air space shortly after they flew overhead. They connected us with the right people at the right time, which has all but stopped this problem.

Much of my life I’ve felt distant from Westover, disconnected from their daily operations and missions. But Westover Air Reserve Base is just two towns away, a few miles, and moments, away as the C-5 flies.

In reality, we are neighbors!

Last week, the men and women at Westover were incredibly neighborly, inviting Barstow’s Longview Farm to visit the base and learn more about what they do. We were treated to a weapons display, met the Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit (I even got to try on a very heavy, very rigid, 70lb bomb suit!), and a enjoyed delightful lunch. Our day was capped by a flight in a C-5 plane where every single visitor had the chance to ride in the cockpit!

Most of the people who report to Westover are in the Reserves, working a certain number of hours in uniform, but mostly working as civilians in jobs right here in Western Mass.

Barstow’s Longview Farm is always here at home – producing food for our community, stewarding the land, and caring for our herd. Meanwhile, the men and women of Westover are moving all over the world! These reservists are stewarding peace, building capacity, nurturing global relationships, and keeping us safe. A community needs all of these pieces to make it work – our neighbors are pretty awesome.

We are incredibly grateful to all of the wonderful people we met at Westover! Thank you for your hospitality and for your service!

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