Grumman Peconic River Airport (Calverton) at the top, The Francis S. Gabreski Airport (formerly Suffolk County Air Force Base) at Westhampton Beach, NY, at the bottom
Calverton Naval Weapons Plant (CTO), Calverton, NY, was built in 1952 at the Grumman factory airfield. It was the birthplace of the F-14, A-6, E-2, etc. The plant's two runways (14/32 and 5/23) were completed in 1953. The Assembly Plant Building (Plant 6) was accepted for Grumman operations in 1954, and production commenced that same year. Also in 1954, Hangar #4 was occupied by the Flight Test Department, and Hangar #1 was occupied. In 1956 construction was completed on the Firing-In area (gun butts) and the Engine Test House. The Rotodome Test Area, used for E-2 Hawkey radar development, was completed in 1961. After Grumman was acquired by Northrop, the airfield was closed in 1996 due to cancellation of F-14 and A-6 production. The sole remaining Grumman aircraft production line for the E-2 Hawkeye was consolidated to St. Augustine, FL. The airfield property was turned over by the Navy to the Town of Riverhead in 1998. Two concrete runways still exist: 10,000' runway 14/32 and 7,000' runway 5/23. One of the Calverton hangars was used by the NTSB to reassemble wreckage of TWA B747 flight 800. A group named the Grumman Peconic Airfield Alliance was successful in convincing the local government to reopen the airfield,
currently as a private airfield for the use of a skydiving operation, Skydive Long Island, which now flies out of Calverton with a Twin Otter.
Francis S. Gabreski Airport (ANGB) is located in Long Island (Westhampton Beach, Suffolk County), New York, approximately 80 miles east of New York City. It is home to the 106th Rescue Wing which operates HC-130 Hercules and MH-60G Black Hawk helicopters to provide war and peacetime aerial rescue services. The base encompasses 88 acres and contains 34 buildings; 32 Industrial and 2 Services, amounting to approximately 311,000 square feet. There is no family or transient housing. The day-to-day base population is approximately 250 personnel; however, one weekend each month the population surges to 826 in response to Air National Guard drills.
In 1943, the Federal Government built this airport for use as an air force base during World War II. After the war, it was returned to Suffolk County, until 1951, when it was reclaimed for the Korean War National Emergency. In 1960, it was leased by the US Air Force for an Air Defense Command Base, deactivated in 1969, then released back to Suffolk County in 1970. In 1991, the airport was renamed in honor of Col. Francis S. Gabreski, a former base commander and World War II air ace.
In October 1999 Suffolk County Executive Robert J. Gaffney was honored by the Division of Military & Naval Affairs for his work to utilize the National Guard air teams to monitor the Pine Barrens Core, helping reduce environmental crimes while providing training for the Guard. In 1998 Gaffney started working with members of the Air National Guard to devise a strategy that would utilize the military aircraft to combat illegal dumping in the Pine Barrens Core. Since then, the thousands of acres in the core have been monitored by the National Guard, which has helped reduce the number of environmental crimes. In May 1998, Gaffney’s model to utilize the National Guard to protect sensitive environmental areas was dubbed “Guard Help” by Governor George E. Pataki, who made it a top objective to utilize the National Guard to protect environmental areas throughout the State. Other State governors across the Country have established their own Guard Help programs.