Recovery from devastating flooding at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is now under way as waters are slowly receding following days of the Missouri River surging.
During the worst of the flooding, portions of the base were overwhelmed, despite round-the-clock sandbagging by airmen and others, though the headquarters of the U.S. Strategic Command was not damaged, according to an Associated Press article.
“In the end, obviously, the waters were just too much. It took everything we put up,” Col. David Norton, who is in charge of facilities at the base, told the AP.
Air Force officials said the Strategic Command headquarters remained safe because it is on a hill.
“[Strategic Command] was sited in an area that was going to be dry in even the most catastrophic floods, and it’s dry now,” Jon Henderson, assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment and energy, told On Base and other media outlets Friday. “The building is F5 tornado-proof. The building is built with the size of the conditions of the area.”
The flooding has renewed concerns of installation resiliency in dealing with extreme weather events.
A recent DOD report detailed that climate change poses a threat to more than two-thirds of mission-critical military installations in the U.S. The report considered the long-term effects of flooding, drought, wildfires and other natural events at 79 installations in the Army, Air Force and Navy, as On Base reported. The White House has played down the report, even as some Democrats said it wasn’t detailed enough.
Air Force photo by Tech Sgt. Rachelle Blake