The Notch and Grayson: Eighth Air Force's alternative command posts


Besides a large main base and the
adjacent Stony Brook Air Force Station,
SAC also established an alternate
command post for Eighth Air Force deep
inside Bare Mountain in Hadley, Mass.
The Notch was constructed in 1958. It
was located off Route 116. The Notch
closed in 1970 as Eighth Air Force
headquarters left Westover. Today, the
Notch is still intact, but it houses a library
for nearby Amherst College.
In addition, the airborne command post,
called Grayson, flew missions out of the
base from 1962 to 1970. The Grayson  
crews pulled alert alongside the KC-135
and B-52 crews. Grayson EC-135s were
equipped with the more powerful and
efficient TF-33 turbofan engines. They had
nowhere near the thunder and howl of the
J-57s of the KC-135s!
Grayson EC-135s were reassigned to
Grissom AFB, Ind., in 1970 after Eighth Air
Force moved out of Westover.
These are pictures of a section of the Notch under construction in 1962. These photos
were on display inside the present building which retired Capt Wilton Curtis toured in
2005. He managed to shoot some good "photos of photos!" Thanks Captain Curtis!
Click on the thumbnail to see Notch in 2005
I took this from a helicopter in February 2005. The
snow conceals the former bunker a little more than I'd
like it in this photo, but if you look closely, you can still
make most of the entrance out. Note the guard shack
is still there too.
photo by Andrew Biscoe