Home, historic, home

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Mark Estlund & Master Sgt. Scott Gaitley
  • 960th Network Warfare Flight Commander & 960th Cyberspace Operations Group Historian
Before Cyberspace became a foundational capability for national security, airpower had rapidly evolved as a tactical reality in the Second World War.  Combat raged over the skies of Europe, in the Pacific, and other geographical points on the global compass.  The execution of precision long-range bombing campaigns and the use of atomic weapons contributed to shaping the future of our Air Force.

Achieving this projection of power required substantial numbers of bombers to breach the aerospace domain.  Many of the medium and heavy bombers used during the war, such as the B-26 Marauder and the B-29 Superfortress, were built in the Glenn L. Martin-Nebraska Bomber Plant, at Fort Crook Army Airfield, Bellevue, Neb. Comprised of 17 structures and two main runways, this industrial complex manufactured more than fifty B-29s per month, including the secretly assembled and specifically equipped bombers including the historic Enola Gay and Bock's Car, used to deliver and drop the world's first atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.

Fast forward almost 75 years, Fort Crook Army-Airfield was renamed Offutt Air Force Base. The Glenn L. Martin Bomber Plant discontinued manufacturing aircraft, although the multi-use facility became a home for one of the Air Force's newest and most rapidly evolving capabilities, a cyberspace operations unit: the 960th Network Warfare Flight, a geographically separated unit under the 960th Cyberspace Operations Group and part of the Air Force Reserve's inaugural cyberspace operations organization.

Within the labyrinth of historical buildings, "Building D" appears as a nondescript military structure common to any operational airfield. The simple architecture and weathered exterior of the 540,000 square foot facility that once produced America's strategic bomber force, betrays the high tech operations of the modern day. 

The 960th NWF operates one of seven Air Force cyberspace weapons systems from within the remodeled superstructure.  Postured to operate from a 400 square foot workspace, Intelligence Analysts and Cyberspace Defense Analysis crews traverse the digital world in seconds from the safe confines of Offutt Air Force Base.  Whereas, the bomber crews from a bygone era traveled across the globe in harm's way to conduct their military operations.

Operating from these hallowed halls, the men and women of the 960th NWF not only recognize the historical significance of "Building D," but they have the opportunity to obtain a fragment for prosperity. 

Outstanding Airmen are bestowed wooden bricks from the floor of the original bomber assembly plant as a quarterly award. The bricks contain the following inscription:  

"A Brick from the Past....This wooden brick is from the floor of the Martin Bomber Plant, Omaha, Fort Crook, Nebraska.  This plant was built in 1941 and was designed for the manufacture of aircraft to support the United States' WWII War effort.  In all 1,585 B-26's and 531 B-29's were produced in this plant including the famed Enola Gay and Bock's Car.  The purpose of the wooden floor was to eliminate static electricity."

Although the Air Force has an abbreviated history in comparison to the other military services, the innovation and evolvement of employed technology is worthy of annotation in the annuals of history. 

Building D serves as a reminder of World War II and how the Air Force graduated from a component of the Army to an independent Service. 

The 960th NWF and Offutt Air Force Base will continue making history.