Offutt continues flood rebuild

  • Published
  • By Chad Watkins

On March 16, 2019, Offutt Air Force Base suffered a devastating flood, causing millions of dollars in damage to infrastructure and displacing more than 3,200 personnel.

Now, reconstruction and rebuilding are in full swing under the guidance and leadership of the Offutt Flood Rebuild Program Management Office.

The PMO incorporates not only members from Offutt, but also features a strong working relationship with the Army Corps of Engineers and the Natural Disaster Recovery Division of the Air Force Civil Engineer Center, as well as local, state, and federally elected officials.

The NDR was created in direct response to the 2018 hurricane that hit Tyndall AFB in Florida and the flooding of Offutt.

“It became clear that having a single unit focused on the two recovery operations would be important to getting both installations back to where they needed to be since they were similar efforts that required the same expertise,” said Col. Robert L. Bartlow, Jr., AFCEC NDR chief.

However, the PMO was not seeking to just rebuild what was lost.

“We had to change the way we do business,” said Lt. Col. Ron Blankenship, PMO director. “We are planning and adapting our new facilities to both consolidate our units and gain efficiency in line with the Air Force mission.”

“Like Wayne Gretzky said, ‘don’t skate to where the puck is, skate to where it will be,’” said Lt. Col. John Brindle, AFCEC NDR division branch chief.

The PMO’s plan is to take 24 separate facilities and consolidate them into eight campuses that will enable superior mission readiness.  The future operations campus brings together units that were previously spread across 16 locations into one consolidated facility, embodying the vision that the Air Force has for the future of airborne intelligence.

While the new campuses are projected to be mission ready from late spring of this year through 2029 in separate phases, Offutt has maintained its full mission capability.

“The 55th Wing ‘WARHAWKS’ have not missed a beat over the last five years,” said Col. Mark Howard, 55th Wing commander. “Our continuous operations during adversity are a testament to the dedication and resilience of our incredible Airmen.  We look forward to the completion of our construction projects and express our sincere gratitude to everyone who worked on this effort.”