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55th Wing officially welcomed to Lincoln during ceremony

Picture of 5 men standing in semi-circle and talking

From left: Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, Mayor Rusty Hike of Bellevue, Col. Gavin Marks, 55th Wing commander, and Col. John Williams, 155th Air Refueling Wing commander, converse with one another following a welcome ceremony at Lincoln Air Force Base, Nebraska, April 16, 2021. The ceremony was held at the Nebraska Air National Guard hangar, where Gov. Ricketts signed a proclamation designating the 2-year period of March 1, 2021, to March 1, 2023, as “Air Force Heritage Recognition Years.” (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Shannon M. Nielsen)

Photo of front part of two aircraft facing almost nose to nose

An RC-135 Rivet Joint assigned to the 55th Wing is displayed next to a KC-135R Stratotanker assigned to the 155th Air Refueling Wing during a welcome ceremony April 16, 2021, at the Nebraska National Guard air base in Lincoln, Nebraska. The 55th Wing will be relocated to Lincoln for the next 18 months while Offutt Air Force Base undergoes runway renovations. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Alexander D. Schriner)

LINCOLN, Neb. --

The Nebraska National Guard officially welcomed the 55th Wing to the Lincoln Airport during a ceremony April 16.

The 55th Wing transitioned all of its aircraft to Lincoln in February as work began on its $180 million runway replacement project at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb.

“We feel like we are home here,” said Col. Gavin Marks, 55th Wing commander, during the ceremony. “We have been planning for our runway replacement project for a very long time and through that very long and sometimes arduous journey we have faced many, many challenges to get to this point today. However, the one thing we’ve been able to count on throughout the many months and years of planning is the unconditional support of the Nebraska National Guard.”

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts read a proclamation, symbolically renaming the area Lincoln Air Force Base in honor of the former Strategic Air Command base that operated where the National Guard and Lincoln Airport reside today.

“The Lincoln Municipal Airport will host a larger air force than many countries and will again be worthy of the title Lincoln Air Force Base,” Ricketts said.

Also in attendance to welcome the Fightin’ Fifty-Fifth were Lt. Gen. Michael A. Loh, U.S. Air Force National Guard director; Maj. Gen. Daryl Bohac, Nebraska National Guard Adjutant General; and Col. John Williams, 155th Air Refueling Wing commander.

This is the third time Offutt’s aircraft have utilized Lincoln for runway repairs, and all lauded that long-time partnership as one of the main reasons why this transition down I-80 was as seamless as possible.

“It is an excellent example of active duty and Air National Guard coming together to support the mission of every day serving our national security interests,” Bohac said.

The runway replacement project is scheduled to take 18 months, with completion expected in Fall 2022.