The former Suffolk County AFB, located two miles north of Westhampton Beach (Congressional District 1), was used from 1943 to 1945 as a gunnery training base for fighter pilots and instructors. The fighter groups that trained at the former Suffolk County AFB received gunnery, bombing, small arms, and rocketry training before going overseas. The former Suffolk County AFB was originally known as a sub-base of the Army Air Base, Mitchel Field, New York, but was later named Suffolk County Army Air Field (AAF); and finally, Suffolk County AFB. The base was declared surplus in 1945. From 1948 to early 1951, the facility was leased by private businesses and used as a service, repair, and refueling operation for transoceanic airlines and cargo planes. Another part of the base was sublet and used to train employees of the Arab American Oil Company before going to Saudi Arabia. In late 1951, the Air Force reactivated the property as the Suffolk County AFB to organize, equip, administer, train, and prepare personnel for combat, and operated and maintained the base for the support of armed forces personnel or units using the base. The base was deactivated and closed in December 1969.
The following paragraphs provide site-specific history and munitions information for the munitions response sites (MRSs) associated with the Demolition Range and Airfield Dump areas:
The Demolition Range was used for the destruction of unserviceable ordnance and explosive items. The munitions associated with this MRS are general purpose bombs, practice bombs, rockets, grenades, bulk demolition material, and small arms ammunition. During field activities which formed the basis of the 2008 Site Inspection (SI) Report, no munitions and explosives of concern (MEC) were found; however, munitions debris (MD) from a grenade, flare debris, and small arms ammunition was observed at the MRS. Based on the discovery of MD in the area and the potential for MEC, further investigation of the Demolition Range area was recommended. Further investigation will be conducted, subject to availability of funds.
The Airfield Dump is believed to have been used after 1951 for storage and disposal of various items. The munitions associated with this MRS are general purpose bombs, practice bombs, rockets, grenades, bulk demolition material, and small arms ammunition. No munitions and explosives of concern (MEC) or munitions debris (MD) has historically been found at the site. During field activities forming the basis of the 2008 Site Inspection (SI) Report, range debris in the form of empty dummy rocket warheads shipping containers, general building and runway debris was observed. Several anomalies that may be associated with munitions disposal were also observed within the MRS. Based on the discovery of range debris and the associated anomalies, and the potential for MEC, further investigation for the Airfield Dump area was recommended.
Further investigation of the Demolition Range and the Airfield Dump will be conducted, subject to availability of funds.
The US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) is conducting work at the site under the Defense Environmental Restoration Program for Formerly Used Defense Sites (DERP-FUDS).
To read a fact sheet on the project Click Here.
If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Gregory Goepfert, Project Manager, at (917) 790-8235.