Offutt Air Force Base officials have released a preliminary damage report from last Friday's EF-1 tornado that struck the base.
A release from a base spokesperson says eight 55th Wing aircraft received some damage from the storm, and six of those have already returned to mission-capable status. Two aircraft are still being assessed and are expected to rejoin the fleet in the near future. Our partners the Omaha World-Herald report six RC-135's and two E-4B Nightwatch jets were damaged. The RC-135 is a surveillance and reconnaissance plane used primarily as airborne listening posts. The E-4B serves as a National Airborne Operations Center for the use of the President, Secretary of Defense, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff in a national emergency. The Air Force has four of these planes.
Base officials say the 55th Wing's combat capability was not affected by the storm, and the unit continues to meet any and all higher-headquarters requirements.
Officials also say the storm caused an estimated $7 to $10 million in damage to base facilities and infrastructure. The very preliminary estimate includes roof repairs, tree removal, HVAC repairs, fencing replacement and manpower costs. More than 350 trees on the base will have to be removed, and that number does not include those damaged at Base Lake or Willow Lakes.