It may be one of the most important Air Force installations in the continental United States, but Offutt Air Force Base has proven no match for the full fury of the Missouri River.
As record flooding
swept through towns across the Midwest, floodwaters had swallowed at least thirty buildings at Offutt as of Sunday and damaged another 30, the 55th Wing announced, including the headquarters of the 55th Wing, 55th Security Forces Squadron, 97th Intelligence Squadron, and 343rd Reconnaissance Squadron
And while the 55th Wing said that Air Force personnel worked round-the-clock to shore up facilities with 235,000 sandbags and 460 flood barriers “to minimize damage as much as possible,” floodwaters were so intense that they eventually abandoned a frantic sandbagging effort.
“It was a lost cause” 55th Wing spokeswoman Tech. Sgt. Rachelle Blake
told the Omaha World-Herald. “We gave up.”
The full extent of the damage is currently unknown, but it's worth noting that Offutt is home of U.S. Strategic Command, which oversees the Pentagon's nuclear strategic deterrence and global strike capabilities — and opened a brand-new $1.3 billion command and control facility at the air base in January.
Below, dramatic photos capture the flooding at Offutt:
(U.S. Air Force photo)