OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. -- --
The commander of Air Combat Command, Gen. Mike Holmes, visited Team Offutt March 25 to see the flood damaged installation up-close and to thank a few of the many men and women who worked to fortify the base before the water hit and those who are supporting its recover efforts.
Just ten days earlier, the base began taking on water which eventually covered one-third of the installation. In preparation, base personnel worked 24-hour operations in an effort to fortify structures and retrieve as much equipment as possible.
Offutt is the second ACC installation to sustain damage in the last year due to a natural disaster. In October, Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, was destroyed by Hurricane Michael.
“When Tyndall went through the hurricane, it was different because everyone was forced to leave,” Holmes said. “Only the commander and a handful of others remained, so we had to quickly step in.”
“In this case you all worked vey diligently to protect as much of your key infrastructure as best you could,” he said. “We were updated regularly at ACC and continue to ask if there was anything we could do to assist, but I can’t thank you all for everything you did to lessen the damage as much as possible.”
Col. Michael Manion, 55th Wing commander, spoke to Holmes about the extent of the flood damage.
“We have roughly 3,200 members displaced from their work centers and redistributed to other locations on base,” he said. “We lost about 1.2 million square feet of office space.”
Col. John Norton, 55th Mission Support Group commander, briefed the four-star on the infrastructures effected by the flooding.
“In total, all of the structures within the water is [more than 90],” he said. “But that includes anything from buildings to gazeebos to munitions igloos, so it is a wide variety.”
The approximate estimate for repairs is in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
“We’re all keenly aware of just how important this base is to our national defense,” Holmes said. “We will do all we can to support the ongoing recovery efforts.”
He left with a final word to all of Team Offutt.
“I am proud of you,” Holmes said. “Thanks for all your doing and all you have done. It is going to be a long haul, so pace yourself and we will continue to provide support where it is needed.”