CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s a story we’ve been following for days: U.S. military bases are on heightened security. Westover Air Reserve Base announced Monday, you won’t be able to bring backpacks on base for the air show.
“Some of the necessary changes in security are going to mean longer lines at the gate,” said Lt. Colonel James Bishop. On base, new signs reading “Bravo” reminded military members that Westover Air Reserve Base is on a heightened security level because of terrorism concerns. Lt. Col. Bishop couldn’t specifically detail what that means for the more than 4,600 people working on base. He did say it will require an added level of patience for the hundreds of thousands attending the Great New England Air Show this weekend.
“There may be random car searches at the gate as well. There are, I can’t get into the specifics of what it entails, but there will be increased security at each point,” he added.
You can also expect longer lines at the gates. No backpacks are allowed on base and coolers are only allowed if necessary for medication or baby formula. Expect bags to be searched. There will also be random car searches.
Westover responds directly to the Federal government, but Barnes in Westfield is an Air National Guard Base, so they take command from the Massachusetts National Guard. 22News is still waiting to hear back from the National Guard. We did speak with an owner of a business across the street from Barnes.
“I have all the confidence in the world of the guard taking care of the base, probably feel more secure here than I would 10 miles away,” said Gary Webster. He owns Berkshire Group across from the base.
The FBI is asking everyone to be vigilant. They are investigating hundreds of people in the United States who communicated with ISIS supporters on social media.
As for the Great New England Air Show at Westover, it’s advised you bring with you only what you could carry onto a plane.