One-third of Offutt AFB Underwater, Eight RC-135 Rivet Joints and One E-4B Doomsday plane Evacuated

Four RC-135s remain parked on the other side of the flightline, which is elevated. Roughly 3,000 feet of Offutt AFB runway remains submerged.

Like large portions of Nebraska, Offutt Air Force Base (AFB) personnel are battling flood waters which started to creep onto the installation Mar. 15.

An increase in water levels upstream due to a record-setting snowfall this winter, in addition to a huge drop in air pressure earlier in the week, has overwhelmed the southeastern side of the base with water from the Missouri River and Papio Creek.

This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. RC-135S Cobra Ball 55th Wing, 45th Reconnaissance Squadron, 61-2663 – Offutt AFB, NE – 2015

“Team Offutt has done an incredible job working together to battle this historic flood as best we can,” said Col. Michael Manion, 55th Wing commander. “We can’t thank our on-base mission partners enough for their support through this as well as officials from the City of Bellevue, the City of LaVista, Sarpy County, the State of Nebraska and the Omaha Public Power District.”

Base officials evacuated the Base Lake early Friday and personnel worked around the clock to fortify facilities with more than 235,000 sandbags and 460 flood barriers to minimize damage as much as possible, Offutt said in a news release.

An aerial view of Offutt Air Force Base and the surrounding areas affected by flood waters Mar. 17, 2019. An increase in water levels of surrounding rivers and waterways caused by record-setting snowfall over the winter in addition to a large drop in air pressure caused widespread flooding across the state of Nebraska.

All streets south and east of the Offutt Field House are impassible with water reaching roughly 30 buildings including the headquarters facilities of the 55th Wing, 55th Security Forces Squadron, 97th Intelligence Squadron, 343rd Reconnaissance Squadron as well as the Bennie L. Davis Maintenance facility among others.

“Our team worked as rapidly as possible to improve water defenses around critical infrastructure,” Manion said.

Offutt, home of the 55th Wing, evacuated and relocated nine aircraft as a result — eight RC-135 Rivet Joint reconnaissance aircraft and one of Global Strike Command‘s E-4B Nightwatch aircraft, more commonly known as the “Doomsday” plane, base spokesman Ryan Hansen said.

This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. E-4B Advanced Airborne Command Post 55th W, 1st ACCS NAOC, 73-1677

Half of the Rivet Joint aircraft were flown to Nebraska’s Lincoln Air National Guard Base, and the other half to MacDill Air Force Base in Florida. Instead according to Military.com, Global Strike Command did not tell where the E-4B was located, citing operational security reasons.

Four RC-135s remain parked on the other side of the flightline, which is elevated. Roughly 3,000 feet of the runway remains submerged, Hansen said.

An aerial view of Offutt Air Force Base and the surrounding areas affected by flood waters Mar. 17, 2019.

Photo credit: TSgt. Rachelle Blake / U.S. Air Force

Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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