Offutt Runway Reopened, Aircraft Returning to Base

Offutt Airmen launch an RC-135 Rivet Joint in response to threats of flooding near the southeast side of Offutt AFB, Neb., on March 16, 2019. Air Force photo by TSgt. Rachelle Blake.

Most of the aircraft that fled Offutt AFB, Neb., as floodwaters inundated the base in mid-March returned last week as the base gets back to normal operations.

“What a difference two weeks make—thanks to the hard work of thousands who are building our base back,” 55th Wing Commander Col. Michael Manion said in a Facebook update.

Before the flood, the base sent nine aircraft—eight RC-135s and an E-4B—to other locations to avoid damage, and it towed the remaining aircraft to higher ground.

The Air Force won’t say exactly how many aircraft have returned, citing operational security concerns, but said most are now back home now that the base’s runway has reopened.

Offutt still has more work to do to repair buildings and address other damaged facilities, including fuel pump systems.

In the meantime, the base is planning a flood recovery “celebration” this week to mark the progress, Manion said.