Forty western Massachusetts fir trees were shipped to the Persian Gulf on Friday after Air Force officials approved the Christmas project.

The trees, cut and packaged by volunteers, with trimmings made by Westfield schoolchildren, were shipped out of Westover Air Force Base on a C-5A transport plane, said Major Richard Dyer, a base spokesman.Initially, base officials were advised that the trees could not be sent to Saudi Arabia because the Saudis' might object to the Christian symbols, Dyer said.

"We were wrong," Dyer said. "When we determined that there was no religious prohibition by the Saudi government, we thought we could ship them over there and deliver them fresh."

The base is the main staging area in the Northeast for transport planes flying men and equipment to Saudi Arabia.