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Offutt’s Sailors set to celebrate Navy’s birthday

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. --

When you think of the U.S. Navy you probably envision F-18s taking off from an aircraft carrier in the middle of the ocean, or maybe the U.S.S. Washington, the service’s newest nuclear attack submarine, preparing to dive into the depths of the deep blue sea.

Either way, you probably don’t think about an Air Force base in the middle of the Great Plains, do you?

However, Offutt is home to nearly 400 active duty Sailors and 300 Navy Reservists serving their country in a variety of career fields.

“As a Sailor serving onboard Offutt Air Force Base, I find great pride that we have a history of working together and have the opportunity to continue that legacy here,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Arthur Stoddard, 55th Security Forces Squadron Navy senior enlisted leader.

With the Navy celebrating its 242nd birthday Oct. 13, a group of land-locked Sailors in Nebraska will raise a glass as part of the greatest naval force ever assembled.

The largest contingency of Sailors here serve at U.S. Strategic Command, including the deputy commander, Vice Adm. Charles A. Richard.

“Our sailors at U.S. STRATCOM are a key ingredient to our nation’s strategic deterrent mission,” he said. “They integrate not only with our teammates here at Offutt, but also with the other combatant commands, partners and allies around the world. The support they provide is of the utmost importance to our national security and global stability. They bring perspectives and expertise from the Navy to make our global warfighting command successful.”

Helping to maintain installation security in support of the 55th Security Forces Squadron are roughly 85 master at arms Sailors.

“We conduct mobile patrol, fixed sentry and surveillance detection,” Stoddard said. “In addition, we are also distributed for other important duties such as STRATCOM's Elite Guard, protective operations, security detail, the Offutt Honor Guard and priority level one nuclear assets.”

Stoddard added the master at arms stationed here not only train to and maintain the Air Forces’ security qualification standards, but to the Navy’s security forces qualifications as well.

“Arguably, that makes our team some of the most highly qualified master at arms in the Navy,” he said.

Providing maintenance on the E-6B Mercury in support of the Airborne Command Post and Take Charge and Move Out missions, better known as ABNCP and TACAMO, are 40 Sailors serving with the Strategic Communications Wing ONE Detachment, or SCW-1 DET Offutt.

“My service in the Navy has never removed me from the shorelines whether I was stationed in the U.S. or overseas, so this is a new and welcome experience for me and my family,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Travis Mandigo, SCW-1 DET Offutt senior enlisted leader.

Mandigo said this is the first command for the majority of the Sailors in the SCW-1 DET Offutt, so he appreciates the operations tempo as it allows them other opportunities.

“To be successful, today’s Sailor must be a well-rounded individual who excels in their professional growth and personal life while giving back to the community,” he said. “Their time in the heartland gives them the best opportunity to set their careers in motion on the right path to a successful future.”

Finally, serving at the Navy Operational Support Center Omaha are 16 Sailors who provide training and administrative support to nearly 300 Navy Reservists in the local area.

“I’ll usually joke about Omaha probably being the one location in the U.S. that is as far away from any ocean as you can get,” said Cmdr. Jeff Dee, NOSC Omaha commanding officer. “But, I grew up here and still have family and friends in the area, so for me, it was a rare opportunity to serve in my hometown. For the other staff members that aren’t from the area, I think they appreciate the irony, but adapt very easily to the differences from a Naval base, particularly proximity to the ocean.”

Offutt’s Sailors have the opportunity to officially celebrate their service’s birthday during STRATCOM’s Navy Birthday Ball Oct. 20 at the Embassy Suites in downtown Omaha. For more information or tickets, please call 294-9967 or 294-5676.