Offutt AFB, Nebraska, became the Headquarters for the Strategic Air Command in November 1948 but its history goes back nearly 100 years. The base had its beginnings as a frontier army post activated in 1896 and named after the Civil War General. Many of the buildings built before 1900 are still in use today. The beautiful and stately brick homes along "Generals' Row" provide housing for the general officers assigned to the base and are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. In 1921 260, acres of adjacent farm land were acquired and leveled to provide an airfield. In 1924 the field was named in honor of Lt. Jarvis Offutt, who was killed while on a flight from England to France during World War I.
As the storm clouds of World War II loomed on the horizon, the government bagan to expand facitities at Fort Crook and Offutt Field. An aircraft factory and a two-mile runway were constructed along with six large hangars. In January 1942 the Glenn L. Martin aircraft company began production of B-26 Marauder, bombers. The plant produced 1,585 B-26s and then phased in production of the B-29, Super-Fortress in 1943. The production run ended after 531 of the Super-Forts were built. The two most famous aircraft to come from the Martin Plant were the "Enola Gay" and "Bock's Car" the two aircraft that dropped the first atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Following the war, the base became a reserve training center and many of the wartime activities were deactivated. In January 1948, less than six months after the Air Force became a separate service, the base was redesignated Offutt AFB. In November the Strategic Air Command moved its Headquarters there. Since that time the name Offutt Air Force Base has become synonmous with SAC.
With SAC commanding two legs of the nuclear Triad (Bombers and land-based missiles), it was natural for all U.S. nuclear planning to take place at Offutt AFB. The Commander in Chief of SAC (CinCSAC) was designated as the Director of the Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff, also headquartered at Offutt AFB. This organization developed and coordinated all U.S. nuclear planning. In June 1992, the Strategic Air Command and the Tactical Air Command were combined to create the Air Combat Command. The Strategic Command, a joint command took over the role of SAC.
©1999 Joe Azzato
Last update 3 Jul 99)