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Hancock Field

Hancock Field: Syracuse. 24th Air Division inactivated and Hancock closed as an active base 1983. Part of the North post retained for housing and the NYANG 152nd Air Control Group. Part of the South post retained for the NYANG 174th Attack Wing. Majority of base now Syracuse or Hancock International Airport. See also SAGE for information on Air Defense Control Center whcih was on the North Post, control for Niagara Falls' BOMARCs.

aerial photograph of Hancock Field

John F. Wierda submitted the following:
When I was assigned to the SAGE center at Hancock Firld NY, it was the 21st Air Division / Norad Region (SAGE) that was from 1970-1974.
Hancock Field was named for Clarence E. Hancock, a prominent local citizen, and member of the United States House of Representatives.
In contrast to its air defense mission of today, Syracuse Army Air Base — as it was first known — was built and activated in 1942. during the early days of World War II, as a staging area for warplanes bound for England.
Many of the "hardstands" and taxiways now overgrown by weeds were scenes of feverish activity almost 31 years ago when B-17s, B-24s, transports and many other types of aircraft were being prepared for the long hop across the North Atlantic.
One of the first units to pass through Hancock Field was the 305th Bombardment Group, flying B-17s and led by Col. Curtis E. Lemay, who later became the Air Force Chief of Staff.
Army Air Forces left Hancock Field in 1946 with the 138th Fighter Squadron of the New York Air National Guard remaining as the sole military occupant of the field until the Air Force returned in 1952 with the Headquarters of the 32nd Air Division. Building 3, the present Base Headquarters, was built as the blockhouse for the 32nd pre-SAGE manual division under the Eastern Air Defense Force. The 32nd was phased out and replaced by the 26th Air Division (SAGE) when the SAGE system became operational on Jan. 1, 1959. At approximately the same time, the Syracuse Air Defense Sector became operational.
In September, 1963, the 26th Air Division Headquarters was moved to Stewart AFB, N.Y., and the Syracuse Sector, in a realignment of sector boundaries, became the Boston Air Defense Sector (BOADS).
On April 1, 1966, a reconfiguration of the Air Defense Command renamed the Boston Air Defense Sector as the 35th Air Division, with headquarters remaining at Hancock Field. The 26th Air Division at Stewart AFB became Headquarters, First Air Force (ADC).
In November, 1969, in another Aerospace Defense Command realignment, the 35th Air Division was deactivated and replaced by the 21st NORAD Region/Air Division, with headquarters again at Hancock Field.
Today the 21st NORA D Region/Air Division, with its radar and fighter units scattered throughout the northeast, Iceland, Greenland and sections of eastern Canada, provides air defense for more than 50 million Americans living within 500,000 square miles of territory including many of the eastern seaward approaches to the United States and Canada.



New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military History
Last modified: September 10, 2012

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