For the next decade
spotted a cornfield back of the barracks that had been leased to a farmer.
I arranged with the Q.M. to terminate the lease as soon as the corn then
ripe could be harvested. My sergeant
[Byron L. Fowler] knew nothing of Army Regulation.
I told him to make me a field and he did.
learned later this involved putting the three men in the detachment out to work
gathering corn in exchange for a mule team and scraper [the following spring].
He also dealt with the county road authorities and got a grader into
action. I don’t know what this
deal was, but believe he promised the votes of the detachment at the next
any rate, within a month after starting on it, he had a level space big enough
to land my planes. The Air Service
headquarters promised me a construction man from McCook Field [
I borrowed 20 men from
In 1924 the landing field was named the “Jarvis Offutt Field” in honor
of the first air service Omahan killed in World War I.47
The field was used continually as the landing point for
The post was an important midwest reserve training center during the late
1920’s and money-starved 30’s. A
new rifle range northeast of Plattsmouth was added to the facilities in 1927.48
In 1933, F.D.R.’s “New Deal” became a
reality to many Nebraskans through the establishment of the state headquarters
and regional camp of the Civilian Conservation Corps at
In 1941 the hospital was demolished to make way for the Glenn Martin Bomber
Assembly Plant. During the war an
induction center for draftees and a quartermaster motor supply depot were added.
The imposing barracks, which first echoed the voices of the men of the
22nd Infantry, echoed the unfamiliar sounds of Italian prisoners of war during
The Army lost
The contrast between the remaining 19th century buildings and the modern air
force base is never more evident than when looking north from the south end of
the old parade ground. On the left
are the extant officers quarters and on the right the north and south wings of
the original barracks. Three hundred
yards to the north is the concrete ribbon of the runway from which the whine of
jet engines of aircraft landing and taking-off envelops the parade ground.
Other remaining 19th century buildings include the guard house at the
southeast corner of the parade ground and the three northern most
non-commissioned officers’ quarters east of the guard house.
Near the northeast corner of the base, the old
In June 1992 Offutt became the headquarters of the Strategic Command when
the Strategic Air Command ceased operations.
The presence of the awesomely-powerful Strategic Air Command and now the
Strategic Command has given
In May 1866 the quartermaster of the Department of the Platte directed that
two temporary storehouses be built at
Union Pacific Railroad is now completed and in working order two hundred and
forty miles West of Omaha, . . . . by the first of November it will have crossed
the north fork of the Platte River a distance of three hundred miles west of
Omaha and . . . by the first of July next it will be completed to a point not
less than four hundred miles west.
North Western Railroad from Chicago to Omaha is also being constructed with
almost equal rapidity, this latter road is now within about seventy miles of
Omaha and . . . will be completed to form the connection by the first of March
next thus forming an unbroken line of railroad from New York and all the other
eastern cities to a point four hundred miles west of Omaha, . . .
At the same time the St. Joseph and Council Bluffs Railroad is being
pushed forward with great energy and it is confidently expected that these two
points will be in railroad connection by the first of April next thus forming a
continuous line of railroad from St. Louis to Omaha.
these lines of railroad and the navigable waters of the Missouri River,
is located in the center of the richest agricultural region of the West . . .
corn, wheat and bacon can be purchased in
no point west can the buildings necessary for the use of the government be
constructed at so little cost, the material necessary for buildings at Fort
Laramie or Fort Sedgwick would have to be purchased at Omaha and then
transported at great cost to either of those points, . . . land is valuable at
Omaha, . . . but we are instructed to say that for the purpose herein specified,
that the citizens of Omaha will donate the grounds to the government . . . . 50
Mr. Kountze’s argument was apparently convincing and the central
quartermaster depot for the Department of the Platte known to Omahans as the
"Government Corral,” was established at
The rectangularly shaped depot encompassed the aforementioned storehouses
built along the Union Pacific siding. From
Thirteenth and Webster Streets, the depot extended northeast approximately nine
hundred feet and southeast approximately three hundred and fifty feet to the
siding.51 The siding
served as the eastern boundary of the depot.
At the north end was a huge corral which at one time enclosed almost
thirty thousand square feet. The
center was used as an assembly area for wagon convoys and was surrounded by a
stable and the corral on the north, storehouses and loading platforms on the
east, and by maintenance shops and a stable on the west.52
This conglomeration was built completely on the property of the Union
Pacific. The land was rented by
contract for one dollar a year.53
The government retained the right to all improvements and of renewing the
contract indefinitely provided the Union Pacific did not need the tract for
strictly railroad purposes.
For more than ten years the depot received and dispatched supplies for the
posts and campaigns to the west. Before
the railroad connections to the east were completed, munitions, goods and
equipment came up the
In a typical one month period in 1867 stores were shipped to Forts McPherson
William Fitch, chief storekeeper and inspector at the depot from 1867 to
corral was the busiest place I ever saw . . . . We kept five hundred horses and
mules there all the time . . . . The horses were sent on to the cavalry out on
the plains. The mules were used to
haul the great supply wagons.
horses and mules grazed in the daytime out on the open prairie which was that
country between Thirteenth and Webster and
remember the excitement when news of the massacre of General Custer and his
command up on the Little Big Horn reached us.
We had outfitted and sent forward supplies for the Custer Campaign, some
by boat up the
the great generals of the war used to come to
In 1879, $10,000 was spent to construct a new storehouse at
discontinuance is thought to be in the nature of discrimination against
Luckily, but probably because of political perception, the pending Army
Appropriation Bill contained an allocation of $30,000 to construct new
Bids were received for the construction of four buildings at the new site in
April 1880. The bid specification
called for the completion of the buildings by the first of July.55
Two of those four buildings still stand; the long brick storehouse, now
called Building One,56 and the brick oil house, Building Fifteen,
just inside the
As late as 1917 all supplies sent to
Thus although the supply depots at
Fred M. Greguras
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1977, 1999, 2000