Lincoln’s Unsung Place in History

Rows of B-47 Bombers

Today, the airport in Lincoln Nebraska is just a sleepy municipal hub.  Next door to the public side, the National Guard’s 155th Air Refueling wing has a small fleet of massive KC-135R stratotanker aircraft.  It wasn’t always this way though.  Lincoln has a very rich history in military aviation.

The area that is now known as air park, and the Arnold heights neighborhood was home to an expansive airbase that supported hundreds of bombers during the cold war years.  At its zenith the airbase supported over 6500 personnel.  The base housed 100  nuclear-armed bombers.  In addition the city of Lincoln was ringed by 12 Atlas ICBM nuclear missile silos, and the airfield had 24 Nike surface to air missile sites as protection from aerial threats.  Yes Lincoln was quite the seat of power through the 1960’s.

Today that rich history has faded away to the point where almost none of the locals even really know much about what was here and in the surrounding area.  Personally I was pretty surprised to learn that we had missile silos so close to the city.  About the only comment you will get from people is that they knew a base used to be out here somewhere a long time ago.

Very little remains of this base beyond the nearly two-mile long air strip (now used by the 155th) and some aging buildings on the west side of the runway.  When in operation this area boasted shopping and recreation facilities within the confines of the base itself.  It was very much a mini-city within the shadow of Lincoln.

There is a young man keeping the history of this area alive and well.  He has done it since he was 15 years old.  He has collected an impressive amount of information on the area and condensed it into one website.  I would urge all of you to check it out and see just how rich our military history has been.  You can check that site out HERE.


About Mike Lemons
I'm a guy in his 40's who has been bumming around the net for years. I am married to a wonderful woman, and have 3 gorgeous kids.

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