By Senator Deb Fischer 
Omaha World-Herald 
Friday, September 18, 2020

The Air Force became a separate branch after the war, and its 73rd birthday is today. Nebraskans should be especially proud that Offutt Air Force Base in Sarpy County has long been one of the most important Air Force installations.

But in the spring of 2019, Nebraska went through some of the worst flooding in our history. Streams swelled to the size of rivers and carried huge blocks of ice in their wake, destroying farmland, crushing cars and buildings, and even taking lives.

Offutt was hit hard. At one point, about a third of the base was underwater, and more than 130 of its buildings suffered damage totaling hundreds of millions of dollars.

A focal point of the Air Force’s investment in Offutt will be a new, state-of-the-art facility for the 55th Wing. This 418,000-square-foot building will consolidate 16 different facilities into a single site, and it will be one of the nation’s best examples of a site purpose-built to support the demands of the National Defense Strategy.

And this summer, the Air Force announced that it awarded a contract to replace Offutt’s entire runway, parts of which are nearly 80 years old.

I have been proud to work closely with the Department of Defense to support these initiatives. The runway replacement in particular has been one of my highest priorities since I entered in the Senate in 2013, and Reps. Don Bacon and Jeff Fortenberry have also helped advocate for this critical project at Offutt.

The future is bright for Nebraska’s men and women in uniform. The Department of Defense is committed to Nebraska because they recognize how important our state is to our national security. These investments are an opportunity to continue to play a leading role in defense, and there is tremendous room for further growth.


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