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Historic Martin Bomber Plant gets revitalized

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. -- The Martin Bomber Plant , best known as Building "D" the largest, historically significant structure on Offutt Air Force Base. 

It's a two story building that contains 1.5 million square feet or a little more than 34 acres and is where many aircraft that took flight during World War II were constructed. Although it isn't used to build aircraft anymore, it remains home to many units at Offutt today. 

In March of this year, Col. Thomas Goffus, 55th Mission Support Group commander, noticed certain areas of the lower level, known as "the basement," were falling into disrepair. 

"Colonel Goffus came to me and said, 'let's take a tour of the Basement; I would like to show you some areas that need some attention,' said Cecil C. Weeks, 55th Civil 
Engineering Squadron Chief of Operations and Maintenance. 

As they began to walk through the building, there were many things that were either in disrepair or just needed replaced. 

"As we walked through the basement, there were vehicles parked in every different direction, one of the walls in the loading dock area had major damage from years of equipment being loaded and unloaded, said Mr. Weeks. 

"The Colonel then took me to an area with a lot of equipment and furniture that was setting in the open and asked if I knew who equipment it was is and if there was something that we could do to clean the area up." 

As they stood in the hallway, two Airmen came out of a door into the location of the equipment, which was very hard to navigate, They were ask if they came through this area often, said Mr. Weeks. The two Airmen replied that it was their everyday route to and from work. It was then that Colonel Goffus made a promise to the Airmen that the area would look better in the near future. "This is when we decided that immediate action needed to be taken. We called in all of the building custodians from the various agencies who work here and asked what the problems were and figured out what we needed to do to fix them and the Bomber Building committee was reactivated," said Mr. Weeks. 

During the first meeting Col. Goffus introduced the task at hand with emphasis on the "dirty, dark, damp, beast that is building 301D." He encouraged that everyone take ownership of the place they worked and not be afraid to make improvements. 

The building custodians responded in force. Almost all of the equipment and miscellaneous pieces of furniture that were scattered throughout the hallways and alley ways of the building were removed. 

"We removed creosote bricks and the residue where the bricks were laid and we formed new concrete walkways. The CE structures shop also constructed a new supply mobility room to store mobility equipment in a more climate - controlled environment," said Mr. Weeks. Previously it was stored in the damp, cold open bay. 

Masonite, a hard board was installed on the face of all open chain link fences and painted. Parking areas were designated for government vehicles and a retaining barrier was placed against the wall in the loading area to protect repairs made to it. 

Another new feature added to the basement were maps at each entrance. The maps are color coded and have a 'You are Here' marker to give a sense of direction. All of the streets and the alley ways have been named east to west and north to south. 

"Hopefully, this will alleviate some of the confusion associated with trying to find a certain location in the building," said Mr. Weeks. 

The streets north to south are numeric and the streets running east to west are the phonetic alphabet. 

Six civil engineering shops assigned to the Operations section, along with support from Drafting, Environmental and Ms. Carol Lencke really "took pride" on the project and make things happen, said Mr. Weeks. "There was not any facet of the process that 55th CES did not help with. With that being said, I can't express the appreciation that I have for all of the units that went above and beyond to make sure the building cleanup was a success. 
Every unit here really answered the call and a few even did some self-help work to take the stress off of us." 

New building residents, the 55th Wing Honor Guard, painted the area outside of their location in traditional blue and silver and civil engineers helped them revamp their indoor drill pad to allow the unit a quality place to practice. 

"I must say that it was depressing to walk into the building and see that with as many units as there were in the basement, we couldn't keep the areas clean. But when it came down to it, most of the people felt the same way, it just took pride in ownership, some organization to get it accomplished," said Mr. Weeks. 

The main focus of the cleanup and revitalization was limited to the basement area of the building, however there are plans to work on the upper levels in the future, said Mr. Weeks. 

"If we don't know that it is broke then we can't fix it," he said. 

The 55th Wing Civil Engineer Squadron asks that people aware of other issues that need to be addressed with the building, send emails to the 55CES/Martin Bomber Building Issues mailbox.