Chanute Air Force Base – Rantoul, IL




(Above) Postcard images used courtesy of Wikipedia.

Chanute Air Force base was named in honor of Octave Chanute (1862-1910) who was a friend and adviser to the Wright Brothers.

Chanute Air Force Base, (formerly Chanute Field) is located in Rantoul, IL and dates back to World War I. Even though the US was the birthplace of powered flight, the military was doing very little to build up its air strength. As of April 1917 the US had one squadron and only about 250 aircraft.  France started the war with over 1,500 aircraft.  The US had some catching up to do!

Congress appropriated $640 million to build up the Air Service by opening ground schools at eight colleges and establishing twenty-seven flying fields to train pilots. The City of Rantoul was selected because it was one of the few level sites in Illinois in close proximity to the Illinois Central Railroad and the ground school at the University of Illinois.

Construction of the airfield began on May 22 1917 and after two months of hard work by 2,000 men and 200 teams of horses, it was completed on July 22 1917.

Here is a slideshow of historic images from Chanute:

Chanute experienced a major growth spurt during World War II. After the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, people flocked to Chanute by the thousands in order to enlist in the US Army Air Forces. So many people were coming in that the 15,000 man quarters were insufficient and many soldiers ended up being temporally housed in tents. The training programs at Chanute reached their peak in January of 1943 with a total of 25,000 people.

On 22 March 1941, the first all-black fighter squadron was activated at Chanute Field. Formed without pilots with the purpose of training the officer corps and ground support personnel, the 99th Pursuit Squadron was the first unit of what popularly became known as the Tuskegee Airmen. Over 250 enlisted men were trained in aircraft ground support  including airplane mechanics, supply clerks, armorers, and weather forecasters.

After World War II, the US established the Air Force as a separate military service and Chanute Field became known as Chanute Air Force Base.

“Built in response to the pre-World War II massive mobilization, (White Hall) was originally a self-contained multi-purpose troop barracks for 2,200 men. It included a barber shop, post office, communications office, mess hall, bakery, library, and study halls when it was completed in 1940.”– Library of Congress

White Hall is a 500,000-square-foot building that spans 11 football fields and was the largest military center before the Pentagon was built in 1941.

The Abandoned "White Hall" at Chanute Air Force base in Rantoul, IL. (Walter Arnold)

The Abandoned "White Hall" at Chanute Air Force base in Rantoul, IL. (Walter Arnold)

 (Walter Arnold)

Aerial view of Chanute’s White hall, taken from Google Maps

The Abandoned "White Hall" at Chanute Air Force base in Rantoul, IL. (Walter Arnold)

The Abandoned "White Hall" at Chanute Air Force base in Rantoul, IL. (Walter Arnold)

The Abandoned "White Hall" at Chanute Air Force base in Rantoul, IL. (Walter Arnold)

This was easily one of the more toxic  locations I have visited. Asbestos, and mold were abundant. Many of the inside rooms had standing water. Drop ceilings had fallen, along with light fixtures, and everything was rusted.  In most of the interior spaces there were calcium stalactites and stalagmites as if the ceilings were dissolving.  We used breathers in parts of the building especially in areas that were closed off with no outside air circulation. After the shoot I found EPA reports online that talked of heavy contamination on the grounds, and even some articles which claimed the possibility of “Agent Orange” on the site.

The Abandoned "White Hall" at Chanute Air Force base in Rantoul, IL. (Walter Arnold)

 (Walter Arnold)

 (Walter Arnold)

 (Walter Arnold)

Many rooms in White hall were designated for classroom space, and there was no shortage of painted inspirational wall murals around the base. Walking into one room in particular I saw just above where the chalkboard used to be, large block letters spelling out “You’ll Move Forward Fast”. I could not help but laugh at the irony of the scene!

The Abandoned "White Hall" at Chanute Air Force base in Rantoul, IL. (Walter Arnold)

The Abandoned "White Hall" at Chanute Air Force base in Rantoul, IL. (Walter Arnold)

The Abandoned "White Hall" at Chanute Air Force base in Rantoul, IL. (Walter Arnold)

The Abandoned "White Hall" at Chanute Air Force base in Rantoul, IL. (Walter Arnold)

 (Walter Arnold)

 (Walter Arnold)

 (Walter Arnold)

 (Walter Arnold)

A few of them were not so inspirational 😉

 (Walter Arnold)

All in all we explored the decaying remains of this historic Air Force base for about 6 hours. There was so much to see given the size of the location.

The Abandoned "White Hall" at Chanute Air Force base in Rantoul, IL. (Walter Arnold)

The Abandoned "White Hall" at Chanute Air Force base in Rantoul, IL. (Walter Arnold)

The Abandoned "White Hall" at Chanute Air Force base in Rantoul, IL. (Walter Arnold)

And here are a few “before and after”‘s

 (Walter Arnold)

(Above) Historic image, courtesy of the Library of congress.

The Abandoned "White Hall" at Chanute Air Force base in Rantoul, IL. (Walter Arnold)

 (Walter Arnold)

(Above) Historic image, courtesy of the Library of congress.

The Abandoned "White Hall" at Chanute Air Force base in Rantoul, IL. (Walter Arnold)

At the end of 2013, Rantoul, IL received the green light to begin demolition of the massive White Hall. The Asbestos will be removed and the building demolished sometime in the coming years.

The Abandoned "White Hall" at Chanute Air Force base in Rantoul, IL. (Walter Arnold)

Here is a slideshow of historic images from Chanute:

The Art of Abandonment

Walter Arnold Photography

All images are copyrighted by Walter Arnold Photography except where noted.  None of these images may be used without permission.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • Great Pictures, especially the before and afters.

    I attended Weather Observing School at Chanute at the end of 1986. I remember cold marches to school when the wind was blowing across that open field. I remember the little bar called the Hitching Post in Rantoul, and going to several bars in Champaign (whose names escape me). We graduated on the 22nd of December, and I had a flight home out of Chicago O’Hare, along with thousands of other airmen. I remember a seemingly endless string of Greyhound busses shuttling all of us up to the airport. Went back for Forecaster School in 91, the place had changed very little, although we had our own building by that point, so no more White Hall.

    Good memories of that place!

  • A Sad, but beautiful pictorial commentary on a place that has had a huge impact on our nation through its inestimable contribution to the United States Air Corps/Force from monoplanes to missiles. I was here in 1959 with my family prior to my dad’s deployment to Italy as a LOX plant manager for the Jupiter missile program. This site has and will continue to touch a lot of hearts.

  • I left Lackland AFB on 7 January 1985 on my way to Airframe Repair School at Chanute AFB. The temp in San Antonio was 65. On our approach to Champaign Airport, the pilot came over the intercom and said the temp was 29 degrees. Not too bad. What he DID NOT say was that the wind was blowing (not gusting, blowing) at 25 mph. We had dressed in our dress blues and bus driver hat, and had our all-weather coat (with NO liner.) The plane stopped about 75 yards from the terminal. We had to form up and then march into the terminal that seemed to get farther away as we marched. After some checking in, we were loaded onto a bus. There was some delay, so the SrA that picked us up asked if anyone had any questions. I raised my hand and asked if it was always this cold. He laughed and said, “Son, we’re in the middle of a heat wave!” I did not think I would ever be warm again.
    I really enjoyed myself at Chanute, despite the weather. After a short stay in my parent squadron, I was accepted into the Drill Team. The Drill Team/Drum & Bugle Corps Squadron was on the South-side of the base just past the hospital. On School days, if the temp was below a certain point or if it was raining or snowing, a bus would pick us up and take us to the mess hall at my parent squadron for breakfast. We in the DT/D&BC had a ‘Straggler’s Pass,’ so we did not have to fall in with the rest of the guys, and could pair up in small groups of 3 or 4 and ‘at ease march’ to the school. That was nice, because we could go the most direct path which was about .75 miles. At that time in the morning, large formations were banned from marching on Eagle Dr or Galaxy Dr. because that was were the Officer’s lived. The large formations had to go south, cross over, and go up the flight line to the back of the school which was almost 2 miles. There were many days when the bus dropped us (DT/D&B Corps) off at the mess hall and we would not even get through the chow line with our food when the others were forming up out in the yard. We would eat, and get to school ahead of the others by several minutes. Of course, when school was over, there was no bus to take us back. It was just over 1 1/2 miles which is not very far – except when it was 25 degrees (or colder) and the snow was horizontal.
    I met some wonderful people at Chanute. Of course, life happens and we fall out of touch. One of my favorite people was an Amn Avilia. She was from Idaho, so, of course, I called her ‘Spud.’ She met the minimum height requirement by, maybe 1/8th of an inch. She was tiny! I was the Dorm Chief, and she came to me one day complaining about having to ‘march’ with people that did not under the concept of a 32″ step when marching. She had to take 3 steps for their 2 steps. I told her that, from now on, find me when she finished breakfast, and we would ‘march’ to school together, and SHE would set the step length. After that we were great friends!

    • I attended Airframe school in 1968, graduated HQ, next stop McConnell in Wichita, Ks for 6 months to an accelerated OJT for my 5 level. The next stop was Phan Rang AB RVN. Chanute was a short stop on the way to RVN. At first, the ropes were a pain, but as classes graduated it became bearable. My first week in RVN I checked in, got a rollaway with tools, and promptly landed in CSP as an augmentee. Working the perimeter and riding in an APC gave me a whole new perspective on Chanute. Our theatre was an outdoor affair, the Airman’s Club was also a sweatbox, and my day off was often interrupted by a VC attack which meant I deployed to a bunker on the perimeter to defend the base. I returned to Chanute in fall of 1970 for a bonded honeycomb class, it was a whole different experience as I was an E-4 by then so all academic and low key. My only regret was that I did not serve a second tour in RVN, with the kind of damage the AC came back with my skills would have been top shelf, and by that time in country travel was more available. So, looking back Chanute was great except for my casual duty before school. I injured my foot in a conflict with a storm door and I was in one of those boot things for 3 weeks. My final assignment was in Dover AFB but true to form I got sent TDY to Andrews where I was in the 89th CAMS squadron assigned to work on the crew that maintained General Jack Catton’s bird when he was in town. When they were not in town, I got to work with the CAMS unit which maintained AF1 and the Presidential Fleet….talk about light duty, I spent more time on the Andrew’s golf courses than at work. I returned to Dover and ran an Airframe crew than did phase maintenance, so again my job was the dreaded paperwork. I did not think much of my 4 years until I had a professional resume writer help me with a resume when I graduated from college. He placed emphasis on the various assignments and roles in my resume. A week later I floated my resume with IBM in NYC, and after 2 interviews I had a job. 30 years with IBM and early retirement still has worked well for me. I attribute much off my success to my time in the USAF.

  • April of 85, Life Support.. I have great memories here! It was so cold and we hung out around white hall studying and goofing off! There were no women in life support and I found a great friend in weather.. she talked all about clouds and I was so fascinated.. we broke phase together and luckily never got caught! Lol The guys I went to school with were the best, wish I knew what happened to them all . .. never was good at keeping up with anyone.

  • My late grandfather trained at Chanute in March and April of 1944. He never spoke of his time in the service, but I have a few letters he wrote back home while he was there. I’m currently doing a project with all of his letters the family saved, collecting information about all the bases where he served. Your photos are amazing. It’s wild to think of him walking those halls as a young man almost 80 years ago

  • I went to AIT (Advance Individual Training) there in 1978 to 1979 to learn Aircraft Pneudraulics Systems when I was in the Army. Yes, I know it was an Air Force Base but the US Army used to send soldiers there to learn aircraft systems. In our dorm, the second floor was used solely to house us there. There was a lot of competition amongst the Air Force and Army soldiers, especially when it came down to dating 🤭. I remember one weekend, some Air Force guy got mad at me because I started dating this nice girl that he liked. A group of his friends came to my room to confront me, Two of them corned me in my dorm room, but my fellow Army friends weren’t having it. Like clock work, about 30 of my Army friends came into my room with bats and broom sticks and blocked the hallway. Of course I had to talk some junk and they left with their tail between their legs. I’m glad to say no one got hurt, just some bruised egos. The winters there were brutal. Every morning after early formation we would March to class through the open airfield and the cold wind would whip through us. God it was cold. None of the pics posted above, I don’t recognize and there wasn’t any cell phones back then to take pics. I don’t have any pictures of when I was there. One of my friends was married so he lived outside of the base, and a big group of us, would go there to party like crazy. It was the 70’s and pot and drugs were all over. It was like being in college.

  • My grandparents took us to the Chanute Aerospace Museum multiple times in the late 90s. The collection of aircraft and artifacts was fantastic, though pretty static. You could tell that volunteers who tried to keep the museum going tried so hard, but couldn’t keep up. The same could be said for the base writ-large — the inheritance was too heavy for the town to manage on its own. I’m not sure if we should let the end of Chanute overshadow its decades of service as an air force base. It did its job and it did its job well.

  • I arrived at Chanute AFB early August 1981 as an inbound student for Aircraft Pneudraulics. I stayed in the old WWII barracks across the bombing run where in-processing students arrived. It was an interesting time to be assigned to Chanute. I have fond memories. Met a lot of nice people whom I unfortunately lost touch of.

    • I too was barracks in those old WW II buildings In Early March of 1973. After The warm weather of Lackland during 8 weeks of basic It was a shock to my system to feel those cold winds that came through the base. I was training as a Missile Mechanic for the Minute Man II

    • I was there in 81 as well,firefighting school in the summer.a lot of swimming
      Remember watching Raging Bull in the theater on base.

  • We were stationed at Chanute twice. My father went civilian for a while after WW2, then re-enlisted at Chanute around the time I was born. After that, we were at Vance AFB, then Williams AFB. In Japan, we were at Kokura and Gifu where my father taught F-86 ground school to the Japanese Air Force. On return to the States, we were at Chanute again. For several years we lived way out in the country but eventually moved in town. I attended my first 3 years of high school at Rantoul in the early-mid 1960’s. When my father retired we moved on again. One thing I remember about Chanute was the aircraft on static display. I have pictures of my brother and me by the B-36 & B-29. (I served at Murphy Dome AFS (AAC) and Keesler AFB (ATC) during the Cold War)

  • I arrived at Chanute on the last day of November 1988. Still remember how cold it was and snow was falling. Brand new Airman coming for welding training. Graduated from tech school in March 1989. I loved my time there and had a couple of opportunities to return for further training before the base was closed. Wish I had some photos but the time there went so quickly and I guess I just didn’t realize how I would look back at my time there so fondly. Your photos really made me sad. Such a mighty and honorable place left to the dust heap of history.

  • I was at Chanute in 1992 for AGE school. I guess we were going be of the last classes to go through before it closed. I wish I had pictures, or even remembered names of the guys that were in my class. Watching this video made me sad.

  • I arrived on Chanute June of 67, we flew in on a military transport, landed on the short runway Chanute maintained. I was assigned to the 58th Student Squadron. I was expecting to be assigned to Hound Dog School, but I had wait in PATS… Personnel Awaiting Tech School until a class opening could be determined. I did a ton of KP (in the big main chow hall, there must have been 10 serving lines in that building), mowing lawns and gopher work.. go for this and go for that. I bunked in one of the last WW2 barracks, everything was open bay, drafty and the floors and tile were so warped we had to buff them on our hands and knees since a floor buffer only shined the high spots and none of the low spots. I was surprised to see that I was assigned to Minuteman Missile School, not Hound Dog. I got moved over to the old hospital barracks for Minuteman School. By the time I finished PATS and Minuteman School I had been on Chanute about 68 weeks, our fatigues were so faded the other students thought we were permanent party. Went to Malmstrom AFB in Montana after tech school, I thought Illinois was cold in the winter, Montana was like another planet. Went back to Chanute a couple of times for “upgrade” training and then I was assigned to the then new Short Range Attack Missile Program (SRAM). That school was in the same Chanute building as the Minuteman classes (Grissom Hall if I remember correctly) and then 6 months later I was assigned to Griffiss AFB, NY. I thought Illinois got a lot of snow, well, upstate New York has that beat… hands down. I finished an engineering degree at night in the AF and decided to move on to the civilian world, glad I did. I was in the AF a little over 13 years, lots of memories of those times at Chanute, over 50 years ago.

    • I thought I would add, I remember being in the barracks in the evenings working on homework when I would hear a raspy voice from the front door yelling… “Pizza Pop!”. It was one of the roach coach guys that worked Chanute in the evenings selling 9″ pizzas and cokes to the guys in the barracks, if I remember correctly the pizza cost $2.25 and the coke was 50 cents… I think, pizza pop probably brought in quite a bit of money since there were several thousand technical students at Chanute at any given time. When I was there electronics was taught in P3 or White Hall and then I had Block Classes…. Minuteman Missile School in Grissom Hall, named after the late astronaut Gus Grissom. There was A, B, C and D shifts for school, each shift was 6 hours long, you had to be in your seat in the classroom at the beginning of the shift and A shift started at 0600, which meant my day started with an 0345 wake-up, get dressed, leave the room in inspection order and fall out to march to the big chow hall for breakfast and form up in the street in front of the chow hall for the march in formation to school… I was the Red Rope, which meant I got to march the squadron to school calling cadence the entire way. I had D shift for awhile, miserable, class started at midnight and ended at 0600, I found it impossible to get my sleep cycle, meals and free time on an even kilter. I just happened to remember that stuff, haven’t thought about it in years

  • I went through 15 weeks of training in “Metals Processing” (welding) May through early September, 1975. I had the afternoon shift with class beginning around 6pm. We marched on the flight line to the hanger to our school. It was the hottest time of the year to do so and in wool fatigues (’cause wool doesn’t burn as easily as cotton – perhaps this was a sign). I remember being sopping wet with sweat a 10 minute march on a cement flight line that had 80 to 90 degree sun on it all day along with the 70 to 80% humidity. I was never so happy to arrive at permanent duty at Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota at the end of September – Fall coolness was a godsend! I was among the first women to go through this form industrial training. My roommate and I were in Basic together and I was happy to have a friend help me get through. Also had great roommates in the dorm although, being on a late shift, we didn’t get together until weekends. A lot of good memories about Chanute and it is both sad and disquieting to see the abandonment. Kinda makes me wonder what it all was for.

  • was looking at all the pics when i was on base last was summer 81 i had just gotten done with a murrial at the cafeateria made it look like you were standing on the moon looking back on the earth and the airmans club was open and the drinks were cold damn it got hot their in the summer we had all just passed engine school and we had a great night . then the place closed and we had to go off to our next spot .

  • Wow it’s crazy and sad to see these photos, I went through Chanute from March to June of 1992 (Jet engine school) still in to this day 30years. It’s gone by so fast. I often wonder what the base looked like after all this time and came across this. I wonder how many people that went through in my time are still in.

  • My first stop after basic training for Fireman school. Remember bits and pieces but that was back in 1971. What a shame.

  • Came to Chanute right after basic training – November or December 1976. This Florida girl had never been so cold. I remember marching to school every morning in the bitter cold. I also remember the chow hall had the best food! Steak and lobster on sundays! Had some wonderful roommates and made great memories. I was in the NDI career field. Sad to see these pictures.

  • I was assigned to the 3505 USAF Recruiting Group from 198-1989. The recruiting group was headquartered at Chanute. Great base housing and nice facilities. Yes, the winters were cold but we had a great group of officers and ncos. In retrospect a very good assignment.

  • Stationed at Chanute from December 1964 to June 1965 for Tech School (3348th Sq). From there I went to Camp Perry, Ohio for the National Rifle & Pistol Matches and then onto Shaw AFB, SC. Completed my 4 year enlistment between Shaw and Southeat Asia.


  • Please contact me regarding this property. We absolutely need a property for our Veterans. Other states have been way ahead of us at taking care of vets that enter our two year transition of providing social, education, job skills and more to help them return to function with grace and honor.
    Jeannette Herbord
    Veterans Outreach of Illinois
    Executive Director
    [email protected]

  • We were stationed here in the mid to late 60’s. My Dad taught Automatic Flight Control to the Pakistianies & Saudi’s and then retired in “68”. Went to Pleasant Acres Elementary School and experienced the Blizzard of “66”. What an igloo we made, awesome memories. Sorry to hear about all the contamination & asbestos on the base. Explains alot.

  • I came to Chanute from basic for AGE at 17,18 years of age. Lots of fond memories! Wished I would of taken in more. As you guys,remember marching to school at 11 at night in ice storms,my first one,and how beautiful the fall was.It was romantic,scary and very new to a kid from the sticks of Colorado.It was 1978.Went to Elmendorf AK after.What great place,married AGE guy who had joined year to the day as I. So extremely hard to see these pictures,makes you want to cry. Why did the government not take care of these buildings and reuse,so dumb!! Thanks to author for photos…and thanks for the memories!

  • I was at Chanute for Fuels Tech School in Summer / Fall of 1985. Remember catching a lot of flak from the Security Service trainees for riding the bus because our classes / training facility was too far to March from the dorm. SSgt. Mayorana was my instructor. Great guy. Fond memories of Bradley’s, tennis courts, and the Holiday Inn.

  • I was born and raised here from 84-89, before moving to Upper Heyford AFB in the UK. My father worked AGE shop and it was a fantastic base. We lived off S Pointe Dr around the 1540 block. Just remember our neighbor ELi who was a MSGT. Shame to see it wasn’t repurposed into something that would’ve benefited Rantoul.

  • I was at CAFB in the winter of 1979 and it was my first taste of the mid-west cold. I was there for AGE training and don’t remember much other than school and pizza delivery from Dominos. Its a shame what happened to the base that it couldn’t be saved for another purpose. I will always remember my time there I got a “USAF” tatoo at some little shop outside the main gate. I still work AGE 42 years later but now for a major airline.

  • I was stationed at chanute fab from June 1,1978 to February 25, 1979. For a young man from Waco,Texas, Chanute was a place of discovery. I was there to learn electronics. My AFSC was 42350 Aircraft Electrician and the dorm I lived in 821B. We had the unfortunate position of being bulited next to the waste treatment plant. So no tears there. I was glad to get to my next assignment, Lakenheath,AFB England. It was at Chanute AFB I would discover knowledge,love and respect for a woman (a cute little number from new jersey). 3 things happened while I was stationed at Chanute: October 21 1978 there was a meteor shower, the Shaw of Iran was exiled just about all of the Iranian airmen left later we would find out why, camp David peace accord (Israel and Egypt) and Battlestar Galactica. From rantoul I would discover the rest of the state of Illinois. I started my martial arts training at Chanute. In closing it doesn’t matter ifyou were there for few months for training or station there’s a piece of Chanute embedded in your mind and a part of your memory. Sgt James R.Shelton jr USAF/USAR Retired

  • I was sent there after basic in Jan 1985 for fuels school and left for permanent assignment to Pope AFB in NC. I don’t think I can remember ever being as cold as I was that winter. As a student leader (Rope) I was looked up to because I was creative in my thinking. We had to go do PT 3 times a week at the gymnasium in the morning but on those days we always seemed to miss morning chow before going to school. After thinking on this I asked my flight of airmen what they would be willing to do to make chow on those mornings. Because the PT was scheduled in shifts we could not adjust our time slot nor could we change the number of reps of each exercise so I encouraged all involved to if they were willing to double and triple time through the routines. This left the NCO’s wondering how we were making chow on those mornings and I got called into the first shirts office to explain why I was not performing my duties. When I explained how we were managing it they laughed it off and said well done continue on. They of course investigated and found the flight actually appreciative of being able to eat before school started rather than being subject to the vending machines. I also remember a day we were marching from the hydrant fueling system pumping facility to one of the hangars on the main field and ended up getting devoured by snow when I stepped into a 6′ deep ditch that was not visible due to the snow drifting and filling it in. It is sad to see the condition of the base now I enjoyed my time there. I am still good friends with some of my classmates there and we talk often.

  • Wow! How sad. I was Linda Hobbs, an instructor in autopilot sets. I met my former husband Mark Dietrich there in 1975 and was Linda Dietrich for 25 years. I was 21 years old and thought the 4 years that I signed up for was an eternity. I wish I could go back and appreciate the building, the murals and my youth.. I’d also like to have a slice of The Flying Tomato Brothers, Garcia’s pizza! If you remember me or anyone else from that timeframe, please let me hear from you!

  • Arrived at Chanute after basic training in July 1972 where I attended Aircraft maintenance school. Left Chanute late October 1972 for Barksdale AFB, La. Where I was a B-52G crew chief. Went to Andersen AFB,Guam during the Vietnam war. My last duty station was Ellsworth AFB, So.Dakota where I was a B-52H crew chief. Great memories!!

  • Even though it has been 51 years since I left Chanute, it is amazing how many memories I have of being there. I left Lackland mid March, 69 and by then, it was getting warm in Texas. When I got to Chanute, everything was frozen over and the snow was blowing sideways. I remember thinking that if it was that cold in the late winter, at least it should not be so hot in the summer. Wrong.
    I was first put in one of the last WWII barracks way out in a field. The wind literally blew through the building. It was miserable. When I finally started my class as an AGE troop, I was moved to the multi-level barracks that was fairly decent. One of the memories I have from being in that barracks was sitting on a bottom bunk with my bare feet on the floor and another guy from Texas jumped off the top bunk and landed on my big toe with the heal of his boot. Imagine someone hitting your toenail with a sledge hammer. Destroyed toenail and bled everywhere. Since it was so bad, I ended up getting a marching waver and since I did not have a car there, I would call an AF taxi and it would take me to class and bring me back to the barracks. I was on C shift, so I would go to the chow hall and eat breakfast at mid night. By getting there before everyone else meant the cooks would fix me omelets any way I wanted, or what ever.
    I remember sitting in the theater filling out the “dream sheet” for my next assignment. Due to my new wife then living in New Bern, NC with her parents, I requested Seymour Johnson AFB in Goldsboro, NC which was 50 miles away.
    I was moved into what was known as the old hospital barracks and they were hot with no A/C. I clearly remember the day when someone from our class announced our orders were in and the anxiety I felt walking to the squadron office and the thrill I felt when I opened the big envelope and it was Seymour Johnson. About two weeks before I left, I remember being in our small dayroom watching a small b&w TV watching Neil Armstrong take that giant step.
    I was a good student with good mechanical skills and did not have to study hard and was still an honor student. The rest of my tour was at SJAFB and made rank as fast as I could. I just had enough time in service to be part of the first group to test for SGT under the WAPS program and got it and did the same for SSGT. I was deployed to Ubon, Thailand as part of Operation Linebacker I and the Easter Offensive of 72 and spent almost six months there.
    I was one of those guys that most people thought I might re-up, but after coming back to SJ from Ubon to an AH of a shop chief, I knew I was not staying in.
    Anybody remember the “Home Theater” in Rantoul?
    As I look at these sad pictures, I can clearly remember the hallways and classrooms. My roommate was a guy named Thomas Lavola from New York and I looked him up and sent him an email recently and he was still doing good. When I was at SJ, there were four of us guys that ran around together. Two are now passed from heart attacks and I still have a little contact with the other one.
    Time marches on.

  • I attended Fire School at Chanute AFB, in the late fall/winter of 1972. We lived in WWII wood dorms about a half mile away from the main part of the base. I believe our Commander was Major Pullins. I remember marching from our barracks to breakfast and then catching the bus to the flight line, and back the same way at the end of the day. More than once we fell on ice like bowling pins. We would march past the end of the runway and the B36 that was on display. The snow didn’t come vertically, it blew horizontally. It was colder than I was used to, and the field jacket liner didn’t do much in the wind, the face mask did do a good job at preventing frost bite on the face though. Funny, I still have very fond memories of that time. My best friend was Oscar Pfeffers, of U.P. Michigan. He was training to be an airframe mechanic. Hi Oscar, if you ever read this. Hope all went well for you. I trained on the first P2 crash truck accepted by the Air Force there, 64L1. I later drove 64L3, and 64L4 on duty. They were the third and fourth trucks accepted.

    It saddens me to see the condition the base is in.
    From what I u0nderstand, there is nothing left of the fire training area. I wish the base could have been preserved. It would have been nice to see it again.

  • Saw The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly at the base theater when it came out in 1966. Went to dances at The Trade Winds every Sat night. Most of the girls arrived on buses from the local colleges. Orders for Loring Apr 67. Missile Systems Analyst. Hound dog missile. Went to OTS Mar 72 to be a navigator. Left OTS on my own. Nav traing was delayed due to SALT 2 treaty. Should have stayed and waited it out. Eventually I would have gone to Mather. Spent 10 months at Kadena, 67 months at Fairchild, 3 months at Wright Pat. Enjoyed the Air Force. I was hoping to retire as an 0-6.

  • I went to Chanute directly from Basic Training at Lackland in Spring of 1963. We rode the train up through the Ozarks to Champaign-Urbana. Wore our 1505s with no coat as it was 100 degrees leaving Texas. Arrived in Ill. to the coldest weather I had ever experienced. Very difficult living conditions, not allowed to get more than a couple of hours sleep and trying to stay awake in class all day. Learned a lot at Chanute, Electronics and life lessons. Spent my 18th birthday there. Went to the airman’s club to celebrate my birthday by myself. It was Nickle Night and I think I may have drank a dollars worth of beer. My first drunk experience. Also one of my last. We were lucky as our squadron lived in renovated barracks, 3 men to a room. I visited Chanute in the late 80s and it was already in disrepair. Was fun to fly my own airplane into Champaign after so many years. My education at Chanute was sufficient to acquire a great job at United Airlines from 1967 to 1977. I now live in Soquel, Ca and own a business in San Jose, Ca.

  • Went to Navy Aerographer school here in 1982. The NCO barracks had maid service and sold beer in the lobby. Remember Garcia’s stuffed pizza sold off base. Good times.

  • Arrived at Chanute summer of 1972 direct from basic. A 19 yr old assigned permanent party and not a happy camper.
    Left early 1974 and was sad to leave.

    I wish I knew then what I know now.

  • I was in the 51st TTS….Aircraft maintenance – Jet over 2, Sept – Dec 1977. I remember the base well. I believe I still have photos of the base that I took when I was there. A shame all this has happened to it.

  • I arrived at Chanute in October 1973 for what was supposed to be a 3 month course in Aircraft Maintenance. I was asked to stay and teach the course, and three months after graduation I picked up my first class. It was a fateful decision. I stayed at Chanute for another four years graduating from Parkland College and Eastern Illinois. Twenty years after leaving Chanute I retired from the Air Force after logging 3500 flying hours in C-141s, B-52s and B-1s. And it all began at the Chanute Aero Club.

    There are many sad photos here of interior of White Hall. I attended instructor training there in 1974. I was once standing in those hallways when what I thought was a 3 star ⭐️ general came up to me to bum a smoke. I tried to explain that I had no cigarettes when I realized he was not an American. He was a very nice Iranian Captain attending the AMOC (aircraft maintenance officer course). We would become friends during his six months there and I’ve often wondered what became of him after the fall of the Shah of Iran.

    I have a lot of fond memories of Chanute. I was married at the base chapel in 1977. The following year my daughter was born at Carle Clinic in Urbana. She grew up to be a doctor in the US Navy. She announced one day that she had joined the military to help pay for medical school and I was so proud! Then she broke her dad’s heart and said she chose the Navy. Just kidding (mostly). We are very proud of her and the life choices that she and our other three children have made. And it all started at Chanute.

  • This took my breath away. My AFSC 341X4. I went to Chanute in May to October 1983. A part of my life I will never forget. Wish someone could repurpose this base, such a shame.

    • I was at there for same AFSC, 341X4. I got there Oct 1984 and stayed for a very long 7 months. I had Block 5 EP over Christmas. I really enjoyed my time at Chanute, so many great people, so much fun. It really makes me sad to see how it ended up.

      Good to hear from another “sim tech”.

    • I was at Chanute AFB twice! My tech school following BMT July through November of 1988. My second tour of duty at CAFB was Oct 1992 through early March of 1993. I was Aircraft Electrical in 1988 and then I returned in 92 for the combined Aircraft Electrical/Environmental systems course. Both times there were magical. Seeing these photos are heartbreaking. It would be great to reconnect with my former classmates and or instructors. Thanks to all who were there before, during and after I was there.

  • Thank you for your photo project, you are an amazing photographer. I was an AGE Instructor 1980-1984. Most of us instructors lived off base, so Rantoul was home for me for those 4 years. I still have lasting friendships with folks from there. Loved that town. I would not even want to see it today after the hustling and bustling place it was when I was there. I was young – in my early twenties. The most wonderful and memorable experience of my life. I left the Air Force after that hitch, but that experience set the foundation for all of my later business success in life. I was able to sell my business and retire at 49 years old (am 58 now). My wife and I live a wonderful life in our beautiful cabin that we built in the mountains of Mexico. That’s what my Air Force experience did for me. I am so thankful to the USAF and Rantoul for setting the stage for my future. Those 4 years will always live in my memories and hold a special place in my heart. Thanks again for your photography talents and for sharing them with all of us. Be well and enjoy the future.

  • Was at Chanute from July 1960 to January 1961 in AGE school (Ground power) Still have my graduation picture Any one who thinks they were in my class please e-mail me as I have names of classmates & instructors

  • Early fall of 1966 arrived for tech school. (Liquid Missile Fuels) Found out we were TDY there which was really great after Fuels school at Amarillo. Made some really great friends and had alot of good experiences. Really loved Rantoul.

  • Fellow Chanuters,
    From June 1986 to June 1988 I served as Squadron Commander at one of Chanute’s tech school squadrons. My first sergeant was MSgt Greg Collins, originally from Kentucky. He was one of the best! I well remember the pride permanent party Airmen showed in cranking out tech school students one at a time, helping them in their continued transition from civilian to a trained military warrior. Since my previous assignment was at another Air Training Command base I learned to appreciate each of the buildings and their roles in training Airmen at Chanute. I’ll never, ever forget how cold it got during the winters when the corn crops were cut down and the wind drifts produced 10 foot snow drifts — BRRRRRRR!! My family and I took advantage of the close proximity to Chicago and to Champaign-Urbana, visiting both areas numerous times. From 1988 to 1989 my wife and children remained in base housing while I served on a remote assignment to Osan AB, ROK. Thanks for the memories!!! Don E. Jenrette, Jr., Captain, USAF (Retired). RIP Chanute AFB, Illinois

  • In the spring of 1972 I was sent to Chanute for weather observer school, The weather observers, air frame electricians, and all the WAF students were in the same squadron, the housing was the old Korean War two story wood frame dorm buildings. The WAF buildings were in a separate walled in compound and there was never any problems with the arrangement.

    The student leaders (ropes) always kept things under control. Now for a quick story. One of our students was from Chicago, married with a 3 year old girl and he and his wife were having problems. One day his wife shows up at the barracks with their daughter, drops off the girl and heads back to Chicago. Wow, the dorm guard was in shock. We made arrangements with the girls dorm to watch the girl for a couple of days while we drove him back to Chicago the next weekend to patch things up. All done without the knowledge of the Squaron Staff. Eventually word got out and all the students were repremanded for a “job well done”.

    Champagne Urbana was a great place to visit, world pizza at Papa Dels, We would go into college bars and the university students would buy us beers while in California peacenics would spit on GIs returning from Vietnam. Anyway, often basic training Chanute was like heavenafter basic training.

  • Was at Chanute in 1954 attended the Hydraulic school,also from 1958 to 1962 as an Instructor.Lived at Mitchel Court on Grove Street in Rantoul.We had to kids born there our son who died right after birth and is buried there in Rantoul and our middle daughter.I thank you for the films and pictures they brought tears to my eyes.I remember the building I taught in was P-3 which I believe is the one shown in the film.Thanks for the memories.

  • I was in the 3345CS until about a month before the base officially closed. Sad to see most of these images. Was hoping the city or state would have utilized the facilities left behind, but I guess not ☹️

  • This was my home for Tech School from early September ’83 to the middle of January ’84. I was in the Aircraft Environmental Systems school. I remember so well the “long” march from the Squadron at the NW edge of the base to White Hall for blocks 1 & 2 and to the Hanger for blocks 3 & 4 twice per day beginning at 5:00 AM for 6:00 AM classes back to the squadron for lunch at 10:00 and back to White Hall for the afternoon classes. As a “rope” part of my job was to keep everyone in their designated break area…ya right. While I was stationed at Chanute, I took advantage of the Armed Services “Y” and the trips that they scheduled to Chicago and the museums and the USO. All for a chance to get away from the base for a day. I was back past the base in early ’85 as I traveled from Missouri to Indiana, and even after only a year away, it was somehow no longer “home.” I feel sorry for those trainees that will never know the adventure of living and growing as an Airman at Chanute AFB, Rantoul, IL.

  • It’s amazing how fast the decay set in. Ashamed to see our tax dollars tossed aside like that. Spent three months for fire school in 1979 3342nd School Squadron. Then back again for P-2/P-4 Advanced Fire Truck Operation. My last visit was Rescue School in 1982. Fondly remember the tunnels and the old house mockup, both were located in the old fuel cell building.

    I was hoping to visit the Octave Chanute Museum after I retired, well I retired but I guess it’s too late.

    Hope they’re using something of the old base (besides the golf course). Some of those buildings had to be useable like the NEW Fire School.

  • I was in the 3342 squadron October 1980 to January 1981 training to be a General Purpose Vehicle Repairman. I returned in 1985 to be an instructor and stayed until July 1990. I met and married my wife and had our son while I was an instructor. I have so many great memories and every time we return to see my wife’s family living in Champaign i always make a point of driving through the base. So many great memories.

  • Tom, saw that you were at Chanute same time as me and went through phases like you. I never did a whole lot there but go to school in morning and go to classes in afternoon to get my basic training completed. Where not the greatest memories but completed 16 weeks. Cold place and I was from Rhode Island.

  • Was there end of 84-85 for AGE. Man that was a long time ago! Totally in disbelief of the condition of the base now! Lots of memories, that started the 26 year career. Always wondered what happened to my roommate there, Rick Land? Anyone remember the instructor dubbed the chalk monster? I remember getting to Chanute fresh out of basic, had to go through the Phases. Having to wear the uniform all the time, marching everywhere, and having to carry the lacland lasers and reflective arms bands at night.

  • I was there 1960 -1961. Arrived there in a C-46 from Lackland Attended propeller school. Oh those cold mornings marching to school. Spent my first Christmas away from home there. My fondest memories are the two weeks in the test cells! I would like very much to back and visit!

  • Arrived at Chanute out of Basic in ’63to complete 9 months of Weather Equipment training (30250); returned in ’68 for another 9 months for the advanced course (30270). Spent the last two years of my second enlistment as an instructor in the same training program in P3.

    When I first arrived at Chanute I was a serial college flunk-out. The training I received at Chanute set the course for an amazing career. While I was an instructor I managed to be admitted to the University of Illinois, Champaign/Urbana taking part time courses. I left the USAF in ’71 to attend the U of I full time and earned a BS in ’72, and a masters degree in ’73. After a four -year stint at North Chicago High School as both a teacher and an administrator, I returned to “Chambana” to complete a doctorate. I became a community college administrator, manager of a large corporate training center and retired as a university professor.

    To say that my life was dramatically changed in P3 is a massive understatement. I was born-again in P3 and it’s a sad thing to see what has happened to it. I’ve spent a lot of time in college and university buildings, but none of them come close to the deep emotional attachment I have for P3.

  • Was there from late Sep 66 to Jan 67 after basic at Lackland. Was in 3369th Squadron (flight instruments). Very fond memories. At the time we had 4 shifts (A,B,C, and D). Were phasing out D shift and I ended up on C shift going to school from 6PM to midnight. Remember marching to class in the cold wearing face masks, field jacket, towel, and rain coat for extra protection against the cold. Remember midnight chow. Don’t remember anything from the base because of our shift. All I remember is the old wood open bay barracks, marching to class, chow hall and back to the barracks. Remember the latrines with the “open” concept of no barricades enclosing the toilets. We used to play cards after getting back to the barracks until about 3AM. Made a lot of good friends and actually had two of my classmates assigned with me to Langley AFB, VA after graduation. Went TDY all over the world in C-130’s at Langley. Did one year of Guard duty after enlistment. Went to flight school in the Army and ended up doing 35 years. But I will always have fond memories and a soft spot in my heart for the Air Force. Had an opportunity to pass through Chanute this October coming from Wyoming going back to Pennsylvania. So sad! I didn’t recognize anything. But I will always have very fond memories of my time spent at Chanute. Thank you so very much for all the pictures and comments by everyone. God Bless.

  • Was an instructor at Chanute in the A/C & Missile Electrical Repairman school from April 1957 thru Aug. 1960. My daughter was born at the Chanute hospital in 1959. My last year there I was assigned as a mobile instructor for the B-52D,G & H. going TDY to SAC bases.
    Most interesting tour was to “UT” Thailand prepping their Royal Navy guys to be ready for our B-52s & KC-135s that eventually used it as a deployment pit stop.

  • I was stationed at Chanute in 1981-1982 for Tech School to train as a Maintanence Scheduler. While I was there I was in the Drum and Bugle Corps and got to stay in the D&B Corp Dorms out by the Hospital. We had our own Chow Hall over there and practiced in the basement of the building. I didn’t venture beyond the classroom buildings, exchange, and town gate. I never went to the area where most airmen had their dorm. I did go to the bowling alley a couple of times. I also remember the phone center across the street from the exchange. I bought my bomber jacket there, and still have it. The best memories of the Air Force I have were at Chanute. Wish the rest of my Air Force experience would have been as magical. Ended up getting stationed in Columbus AFB, Ms. So sad to see Chanute as a shadow of its former glory.

  • My Dad was as Tech instructor there at one point, I remember him bringing me with him to work and being able to roam the halls in some of the classrooms. makes me sad to see everything in such a state as I have some wonderful memories of the entire base because I grew up there.

  • I arrived at Chanute AFB at the end of Feb 86, as a slick sleeve right out of Basic. It was almost 100 degrees when we left Lackland AFB, and arrived in Illinois in what could be described as a blizzard. I remember walking out of the airport in our blues and getting hit with that artic blast of snow.

    Was at Chanute from late Feb 86 to mid Apr 86 for Aircrew Life Support Technical School. Remember marching to school in the snow, then early spring in the pouring down rain. Although I was there only a short time, I enjoyed my time there, the people in the community were real friendly.

    Remember an incident where our rental car broke down, local family invited us in, fed us lunch, then gave us a ride back to the base. Let me see something like that happen nowadays!

    Although the base might be gone, the memories will always be with us, so she’ll live on in our hearts.

    • I was April 85 Life support! The photos are both haunting and wonderful memories.. I was AWAC at Tinker OKC after that..

  • I was stationed at Chanute from Nov. 1961-1962. Stayed in original WWII barracks 3348th squadron. Attended electronics school in P3 building. Finished that in Feb. 1962 and after break returned for Link C-11 Instrument Trainer school. Finished in June 1962. Shipped to Andrews AFB. Very cold at Chanute. Would wake up in mornings with snow on bunk. Oil furnaces ran 24 hours a day. Did 2 weeks KP in big dining hall. Had 4 or 5 double serving lines. One closed each day for cleaning. Trying to win Hennessy trophy. Very serious about this. Would stand on ladders cleaning exhaust ducts. Then would get white glove inspection. Food was not too bad. I had job breaking two eggs in bowls for breakfast. Two eggs fried or scrambled. I asked what to do with the ones that did not look right. Sarge said to put them a big bowl. Later he used them in the meat loaf. A lot of memories. Ended up at Shaw AFB SC as final station. Worked on and restored a 1943 vintage Radar Nav trainer T3A. Used for training RF4C PSO for reconnaissance missions in Vietnam. Separated in 1969 because I got hitched. Worked rest of life for company making reactors for Navy.

  • Vietnam was calling me via the draft so I decided to enlist into the Air Force. After four short weeks of basic at Lackland, I was sent to Chanute for Weather Observer school. Truely, I have no memories of Rantoul; must not have been allowed off base. My time there (I think the school was 17 weeks long) was late summer/ fall. I recall heading off to my first duty assignment at Pope AFB in Fayetteville NC (adjacent to Ft. Bragg) just as winter weather equipment was being issued so I never got to experience that part of Chanute. I was a West Virginia boy so I know what deep #now is like consequently I don’t consider missing winter weather at Chanute a missed opportunity. So, off to Pope in NC to perfect my wea observing then on to Vung Tau, S. Vietnam for a year. The back to Simmons Army Airfielf on Ft. Bragg to wrap up 3 1/2 years of service. I got out early to return to college. After a 35 year career in teaching I do look back at those short Air Force year’s with tremendous pride, but sadly no friendships carried into my golden years. Too many moves before any lasting friendships could grow. I do wish I could recall more of those weeks of training at Chanute. All I recall is marching to class, policing up the area of cig butts (I guess to keep us from wanting to go over the fence and head back home – a thought I admit I had) and living in a small room waiting on pizza delivery.

  • I was at Chanute from March to July of 1988 going to school for AGE. I was assigned to the 3372nd. Some of the best memories of my life happened here. It’s hard to see the place in such a state. I loved being there. After I had a six year brake in service, Chanute was closed and I attended 7-level school at Shepherd AFB in Texas. It just wasn’t the same. Rantoul was a wonderful town that loved the military and loved their country; at least that is what I remember of it. I wouldn’t trade the experiences I had there for anything. I will always love it there.

    • You left as I was arriving! I agree, Rantoul was quite welcoming. I felt insulated and well received while I was at Chanute. The folks who lived off base always were friendly to us when we would hit the local shops. I miss that place. Thanks for your service, Frank. I was E/E worked on A-10 and KC-135 Aircraft.

  • My mother’s brother,Sgt.Aurie Lee Lane, Army Air Corps, later ,Air Force,was in the war in the Pacific, then came back to Chanute Field,in the late fourties through part of the fifties..He married a woman from Rantoul, had three girls, who as his niece only saw once in Florida. He would write us from different places as he had Thirty years in the Military when he retired.He passed after a long fight with cancer,in his shoulder, neck and throat..

  • My father, Richard Krizsanitz was stationed at Chanute in the Summer of 1945, before his discharge/seperation from the Army Air Corps, or Army Air Force as it had come to be known. He was assigned to the headquarters, and arranged for passes/leaves for personnel, and was assigned as the base commander’s driver for a time. He told me that they would go out in a staff car, and that officer would shoot pheasent in the areas around the base. Much later on, in the 70’s, we had the opportunity to visit, when I was a CAP cadet.

  • I was at this base July 71-July 74 as a wife of a weather instructor. We lived in the mobile home area of the base. The friends we made while living there became as family and helped me adjust to life away from home. We shared holidays and lots of parties. I became friends with the locals of Rantoul which became a part of our lives also. The weather was way cold and the wind could be a bit understated. I remember the daily routine of taps and the raising of the flag while students marched to and from the various courses. The base itself could be impressive, even for the erie of the Viet Nam War the riots of Chicago and Iran crisis. There was always progress of something. The years at that base can not be replaced for me . I often complained of my lack of anything to do,weather, flat land and corn fields but I always had the knowledge of what had been done and could be achieved there. It is sad to see the buildings deteriorated and what was is gone. I hope that Rantoul can grow in prosperity. Chanute was a part of my youth and the memories on that base, good and bad cannot be replaced. Thank you for sharing the photos.

  • Arrived at Chanute December 1974 for Jet Engine Tech School. Was put on work detail scraping ice off the sidewalks for about a week before school started and graduated from Tech School in April 1974. My first duty station was Norton AFB, CA Worked on C-141/TF-33, T-39/J-60 and small gas engines. Retired from the USAF in Dec 1993.

  • Two stripes and 5 1/2 years to go I arrived there in May of ’74. Man it was COLD !
    Jet engine school and when I heard there was recip school I pleaded to be reassigned to the very last class . I didn’t get it .
    Army guys were in our jet engine class and they did not know WHY they were there ( Bradley tanks soon to come ! ).
    I got easy duty because the school commander found out I was an artist , so I created some of the murals on the base .
    Spent a LOT of time at the Tradewinds recording from records to cassette tapes . Rode a bicycle to Champaign and remember passing by Craig Vetters first work shop .
    Stuff is stuff and gets to dust , but memories last forever.

  • I went to Chanute Sept 1966 to April 1967 to become a Missile Systems Analyst Specialist on Hound Dog Missiles 31650Q. Went to the Trade Winds Service club often to attend dances and play ping-pong. Tech school was C shift, B shift and C shift each 6 hours a day. I was one of the canaries when we marched to school on the flight line shouting out the cadence songs. Go to for more photos of the base. Went to OTS in 1972 to become a navigator but changed my mind during OTS.

  • I was NCOIC of CBPO (Base Personnel Office) until my retirement from the AF in 1985. My wife was secretary to a group commander in White Hall. The CBPO building was (mercifully) torn down years ago and I read recently that the Air Force finally agreed to pay for the asbestos remediation of White Hall and that building has now been taken down also.

    Chanute was a great place to live and work and I was very sorry to see it closed.

  • I went to NCO Leadership school at Chanute while stationed there in 1976. The school was a Detachment out of Randolph AFB, Texas. I am very sad that this once college campus style base has become so trashed.

  • I WAS ASSIGNED THERE IN 1957 FOLLOWING BASIC TO ATTEND RECIP ENGINE CLASS (R-3350) WE WERE HOUSED IN WHAT USED TO BE SINGLE STORY HOSPITAL WARDS THAT BRANCHED OUT IN “FINGER” TYPE STRUCTURES..Oh, I also recall that HUGE MESS HALL, and the 2 base theaters just across the street-and that B-36 parked at end of runway…
    Our flight line engine run up planes were the B-50, and the Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar (talk about dating myself)
    Oh yes, It was DAMN COLD marching to class those winter mornings attired in just those thin sage green field jackets..
    The engine test cells were quite interesting (final phase of class) Following graduation, sent to Dover AFB for final 3 years duty working in engine build-up shop supporting the C-124 aircraft. Oh, forgot to mention the fun 12-15 hour KP days in that monster mess hall…
    So very sad to see the present day condition of Chanute..
    But, I still retain my many fond memories, and friendships…

  • Basic at lackland, then to chanute Jan 5 1961. Went to auto pilot and compass training and graduated the end of May 1961,and like everyone says it was cold and windy. My home is in the middle of Missouri so I got a permanent party couple to drive me home and I got my car. Then we could go to Danville and all the other places. When I look back on it, how little money I had to run around on, $33 each pay day. From chanute I went to misawa afb Japan for 3 years. Oh yes I forgot but I turned 21 on January 26th 1961 while I was there. At misawa I worked on f100s, rf101s and f102s, but mostly rf101s and I went all over the far East and got my but in Vietnam in 1963 and 1964 and now I agent Orange which so many of us picked up there. I enjoyed my time in the air force and whish I had stayed in. Guess I need to go thru chanute and see if there is anything I can recognize from 1961.
    Thanks for the pictures and the info. A1C Bill Oerly

  • I was stationed there in the 2865th GEEIA Squadron after I came back from Taiwan in late 1968 and left in May of 69 for Ramstein Germany. I always felt sorry for the students marching in the frigid weather in those field jackets across the flight line with the wind blowing.

  • Was there in Nov. 80 for 2.5 months for fire fighter school. It was the coldest that I have ever been but have very found memories of my time spent there and of my time in service. says:

    Was there in Nov. 80 for 2.5 months for fire fighter school. It was the coldest that I have ever been but have very found memories of my time spent there and of my time in service.

  • Attended Weather School at Chanute in 1954, so many great memories of that base when I was 18 and beginning my USAF career

  • I was there for AGE school in 1973. What a wild time to be 21 years old and in the military. I remember hitchhiking to Champaign-Urbana, going clubbing, hitting the “head shops,” and generally enjoying being on my own for the first time. Chanute was my first base after basic training at Lackland AFB.

    My first assignment after tech school at Chanute was to Loring AFB in Maine, which also sadly closed in 1994. I imagine these dinosaur buildings were all just too asbestos-laden to warrant the expense of renovation. Though we have so many wonderful memories of these places and it’s always sad to see them go to waste, still it’s not like these edifices were architectural marvels of gothic or art deco stone. And, unfortunately, we ain’t 21 any more either. 😉

  • WOW- So sad. I was assigned to the hospital from July ’72 to March ’74 as permanent party. I remember the COLD winters with the 90 mile and hour winds. Lots of fond memories to ponder from my times at Chanute.

  • Stationed at Chanute May 1972 September 1972, AGE mechanic then TDY there May 1976 September 1976 crosses trained to Aircraft over 4.
    Great place went back June 2017 to see how bad it had gotten.

  • I arrived at Chanute at the end of January, 1974. Was originally supposed to attend training for Hound Dog missiles. My orders were immediately put on hold. I stayed in the 59th squadron as a student leader, helping process new arrivals, for the remainder of my assignment. Started basic electronics training in May and graduated SCRAM school in late August. From there, was assigned to Barksdale for the remainder of my 4 years. Good memories of Chanute and sad to see that part of my history fading away……………..

    • Hello… I was at Barksdale just about the same time as you… who did you work for… do you happen to remember who the Maintenance Chief was… the squadron commander was Major Johnny Butler I believe… I worked in Munitions Control for the 92MMS, MSgt Jack Ragsdale when I was there. Mike Kregness

  • My birth certificate from 1953 has an USAF emblem and notes my birthplace to be Chanute AFB hospital. Strange to think that my birthplace no longer exists! My father was Billy E Fox who became a jet mechanic in Korea and then a flight engineer on C130. He then was stationed across the US to teach flight engineering to Reserve C130 crews. Thanks for bringing the base to life!

  • I flew into CAFB right out of Lackland in 1961 aboard a chartered American Flyers Lockheed Constellation. I was sent there to train as a liquid fuels maintenance technician on the Atlas SM65D and Titan ll ICBMs. I was assigned to the Strategic air Command and the 549th SMS at OAFB NE. for my entire 4 year tour. I was released in 1964 due to the squadron being deactivated. One year after being discharged, I became an airline pilot and retired from American airlines and went to Taiwan and flew for EVA Air for 7 years and retired from them in 2002. Fond memories of Chanute and Offutt. I am grateful to the Air Force for being the foundation for my aviation career.

  • hi,I am from iran ,I was there in 1975i never forget those days with my friends in classes .we were there for 5 months in metal processing .now I have 63 years old I hope to see my friends again .if engine remember iranian in this job &steractural aircraft please put a comment I will answer.thank you very much

  • Great memories. I went to fire school Dec 1970 to Feb 1971. Then returned over the years for Rescue, Supervisir, P-2 schools. Always liked Chanute. The cold was not a problem as I was from Connecticut and now live in Maine. Rantoul was okay too with a couple small bars and a diner. none of us had much money then but we did have fun. I may visit Chanute in Oct or Nov 2017 as I pass through the area.

  • I was at Chanute winter of 1963 for AGE school. I remember the cold winter and wearing masks, but still brutal. Went numerous times to USO right outside main gate. First assignment was Suffolk County AFB Westhampton Beach NY. I wanted to travel and kept putting papers for overseas. When we declared overt involvement I went to withdraw papers. Too late, 2 weeks later I was heading to Hamilton AFB California for weapons training and then on to Vietnam for 12 months. I have graduation picture with class at Chanute as well as pictures of those I served with in Nam. Those memories of both and the people I met bring me joy and at times sadness. The pictures of Chanute are depressing, however the men and women who trained there brought honor to our country. Memories stay with us, remember those that have served. I have a son in Chicago, so I will make a Chanute visit next year added to my bucket list.Thank you for the memories

  • I spent four months at Chanute from October of ’77 to February of ’78 in what turned out to be one of the coldest winters on record for that part of the country, which included being snowed in the barracks for three days during the Blizzard of January ’78. I was in the 3354th Squadron going to school to be a crew chief on jets, and I went on to crew C-141As and Bs, and to serve as an NCOIC on B-52s and KC-135s and an ATC technical instructor teaching several courses including new KC-135 crew chiefs.

    It was incredibly cold in Illinois that winter especially when falling out for formation at 0515 every morning and marching to school, but I have fond memories of that four months and the people I met there (I still have my Pitt and Ping Club membership card).

    I passed through that area in 1995 and 2010 and made it a point to go to Chanute and drive around. Each time I was amazed at how little it had changed, both between 1977 and 1995, and 1995 to 2010. It seemed frozen in time and a little spooky.

    Aside from being a little overgrown, as of 2010 m squadron building hadn’t really changed at all from the outside since 1977. My room appeared to still have the same blinds on the window. Even the pay phone center across the street from the 3354th was still standing. I used to save up my dimes all week so I could go to the phone center and call home to Ohio for a few minutes on Saturday and let my mom know I was doing ok, and to call my girlfriend (later my wife).

    Sadly, the overhead view of Chanute on Google Maps now shows the old 3354th as having been torn down and something being built in its place.

  • I was there in 1971-72 for Minuteman missile maintenance tech training. I remember the huge chow hall and I had KP 12 hrs per day for 12 days after arrival. Spent my 21st birthday there. Marched to school across flight line everyday. Stayed in old wood barracks there. Dropped by there recently on a trip and was amazed. It was like a ghost town.

    • I was there as well for Minute Man Missile Maint. Training. Arrived winter of 73 and like you was in the old wooden barracks. I have memories of going to the Chevron Club and because I was from a small town down state of the base I seldom spent my weekends at the base and opting to drive home every weekend. I ended up at Whitman AFB after training and was there the reaming of my 4 years in the service. Just Curious what base you were sent to.

  • I was actually born on base in July of 1978. It’s great seeing some of the base’s history!

  • I was there in the fall/winter of 1980 for turbo-prop engine class in support of the c130. these pictures are very much appreciated and the loss of such a place is horrible from a historic point of view. I myself, have been with the c130 aircraft, 4 yrs active, and 20 yrs air guard as technician/guardsman with the 193rd EC 130s at Harrisburg Pa. The training I received there has carried me through all these years and I am very proud. But I will say something, I remember during snow storms/foul weather, that the people in charge made us, the airmen/students attempt to clean the dorms that we lived in, the normal things like polishing floors, cleaning bathrooms etc. but here’s the kicker, they actually had us strip the pipes above the hallways of insulation, and I’m sure it was asbestos! we where not given any respirators or face masks of any kind- isn’t that interesting guys? Anyway I look at all these pics in amazement and do miss those times !

    • HI Mike i think we were at Chanute at the same time. i remember a Winpenny while i was there just wondered if that was you.. i went to turp prop school around Fed 1980 says:


  • Went through Chanute AFB in 1975 to train as a parachute rigger. I can still recall the time I nearly got frost-bite on my face after marching across the field on our way to school with -20 degree F weather and gusting wind. It took about 30 minutes to get feeling back to my face. We were issued facial protection the next day. This particular field that we crossed had plenty of pheasant in it that would scare off as we walked through.

  • Refueling maintenance “B Shred” January 93 – April 93. Last class to graduate B shred. We boxed up and closed each room as we finished the block. Shame it was tore down.

  • I was at Chanute from June 90 to Aug 1990. I graduated from the 3330th Training Wing, Aircraft Fuel Systems Mechanic 22 AUG 1990. Col Biltz was the commander. I enjoyed my time here and made many happy memories, including carrying a bunch of airmen to Bradleys for dancing. A few names I remember from the base are Raul Toledo, Matt Archuleta, Alvesta Montford, Jim Schell, Dee Dee Betts, Richard Ramos from Oakland CA.

  • Was there July – September 1968 for technical school.
    I enjoyed the weekend train rides to Chicago to visit relatives.
    We had the open bay barracks, not rooms as some did after I left there.
    Some great memories from there.

  • Sad, I was there in 1984 in October and man we marched every morning and wow it was cold. I still tell my family about that place, cold ,old and dreary but I think that’s what made it cool. I always cherish the time I spent there in Aircrew Life Support Training. I still have my picture for graduation, thank you for putting this up , great pictures

  • My dad was stationed at Chanute during WW II. I was stationed at Chanute during the Viet Nam War. I had classes in some of the same buildings he did. I bet we walked the same halls, ate in the same chow halls. He always complained the cooks and bakers school was at Chanute during WW II and once a class was trained off they would go to war, along with edible food. Once the new class of cooks and bakers started up it was a while before the rest of the student body ate decent again. He said the good and bad food prepared him for the food he got in the South Pacific. My food was much, much better. A lot memories were made at Chanute. I know a lot of guys from back then that believe Chanute’s abandonment is symbolic of how the government has abandoned the soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen from the Viet Nam era as well.

  • Stationed at Chanute from March 1975 to July 1975. Trained as an Aircraft Electrical System Technician. Would like to hear from other that were there during this time frame. First dormitory to go co-ed. dh201153 at yahoo dot com

  • I was stationed there from March 65 to October 68. Attended AGE tech school, then was retained as instructor. Living in California now, but visit family of my wife’s, in Champaign each year, and make the drive to visit what’s left. It is quite sad to see what has happened to the place I had such good memories while serving.

  • 69th Student Squadron. January to June 1968. Cryogenics School. My uncle was also there in WWII as was my cousin 3 years before me. Sorry to see this.

  • My first flying job was at Chanute AFB flying club as a flight instructor. All flight operations had stopped years earlier so we were the only aircraft still using the runway during that time.

  • I attended the Link C-11 school in P-3 1961-62 and returned for SMK-22 Night Visual Trainer in 1963. Spent my first Christmas away from home. Lived in the old WWII Barracks. Sorry to see it deteriorating to a point of no return.

  • Time has a way of eliminating bad memories and making the good ones even better. I finished my 4-year enlistment at Chanute after being assigned there on my return from Vietnam in March 1972. I was assigned to the USAF hospital as a Flight Surgeon Medic until my discharge in March 1973. Over the years I’ve thought a lot about the locations I was assigned during my 4-year enlistment and have always ended up depressed with those bases all pretty no longer in existence. My first assignment (Otis, Ma.) is now a joint USAF/USA/Coast Guard base with restricted access so no on-site visiting unless you are active duty or retired. Nha Trang, Vietnam, well no access there goes without saying. Finally there is Chanute. I was fortunate to drive through the old base about 5-6 years after it closed, and it was depressing to see some much of overgrown and building falling into disarray. But these photos really leave me sad to see how such a once important USAF training center that prepared thousands of young men and women for their Air Force careers has morphed into a complete waste of property. Guess the good memories will have to suffice.

  • I WAS AT CHANUTE JUNE TO NOV-1971..WAS there training as an aircraft mechanic ON b-52, jet over two. I made some lifetime friends there.i remember going to the USO just off base,had the best food them nice ladys really could cook..i met a nice girl there it was good to have someone like her to talk to a long way from home we were the same age..i always wonder what her life became..its sad we go through life an meet people an never see them again..i do have great memories of being very sad it has to go it touched so many lives.i miss my young part of life there.. its when i met the real world.. It’s Very sad to see it dismantled an threw away like trash for it really belongs to all the people that were there and the small sweet town off base…~~!!!!!!!!!!!

  • I was at Chanute in 1974 attending the Weather Observer Training. These photos bring back so many memories. Thank you for the beautiful photos honoring this historic site.

  • Wow…such incredible pictures! Like everyone else, I’m amazed at how quickly it has completely fallen into utter decay. I referenced Chanute in a blog post I was writing, went looking for a picture, and found your site and beautiful but haunting photos. I hadn’t thought about the place in years and was suprised by the turn of events. I guess I thought it was one of those places that would be there forever.

    I spent time there from June ’72 to March ’73 going to a fairly long autopilot school. As much as I didn’t care for the Airforce, I have to admit that I had a wonderful stay there.

    I already knew the electronics course material so I never had to study, I formed a barracks rock band that competed in (and usually won) the monthly talent shows, which by arrangement got me out of doing any of the nasty barracks chores and gave me a locked storage room for rehearsal and equipment storage, and a numb toe from wearing chukka boots got me a medical marching pass for the duration of my stay there, allowing me to sleep late and drive my car to class, bypassing the whole horror of trying to march to and from school in the snow. Not bad, now that I look back on it. 🙂

    Like everyone else here, I spent a LOT of time in White Hall. Great people and teachers there…I even had the pleasure of tutoring this guy who was one of the creepy bully types gone crazy with a little bit of power from my basic training. It was fairly embarassing for him to end up just being one of the “dumb” students at Chanute!

    I moved from Chanute to California where I ran out my service time, and where I still live.

  • I was part of the construction team that worked to renovate the single family homes right after the base closed. Although I only worked on the base for a couple of years, it wasn’t until after I moved away that I read about all the contamination. I wondered what had happened to all those houses that were sold. The developers were hoping to bring life back into the community.

    The photos are beautiful and the stories shared are so touching. What a shame that such stunning photos are the result of such a terrible tragedy (the closing of the base). I remember it was still beautiful during the renovations.

  • It was sad to hear they were closing. Was there for tech school in 1985. My first time other than basic to be away from home. Met some wonderful people there. Good memories of the theater and chow hall. AND that March to White Hall from the dorms! Didnt know ones mask could freeze to their face! Met my husband there too. A tech school marriage. People from our dorm chipped in and paid for our wedding. Good memories. Unfortunately… 25yrs later.. the marriage ended up like White Hall. Uncared for, rundown, abandon and as of 10/15, totally demolished. Still, love the pictures and memories. Thank you.

    • Hello Jackie! I was there Nov85-Mar86 for Jet Mech school. Sad to hear about the base, sadder still about your situation. Better times ahead for you I hope!

  • It was May of 1969 that I trained to be an airframe repair specialist. I missed the bad weather completely although, it was chilly upon arrival and started turning cold in September. I first stayed in the WWII wooden, one story barracks which were to be torn down. Later I was moved into the dorm. Funny, I can remember standing outside while getting into formation and to look at the pictures here on on Google maps, I cannot remember where the chow hall was or how we marched to hanger 3(?)for training. I still have note books I used while in the classroom prior to using tools. Throughout my life I have found that the education given me has been useful all my life. My friend Ralph from my neighborhood trained at the same time. His dad balanced propellers at Chanute during WWII. I wish I would have purchased a good camera back then and took lots of pictures.
    Sad to see it is so irreversible.

  • I was there for training in 84-85 if memory serves me. Was a B-52 ECM Simulator Technician and Tailgunner Simulator technician. Seeing the photos really brings waves of sadness to me. The almost one year I spent there was some of the most memorable if not enjoyable times of my entire life. I so wish I could reconnect with some of the people I went to school with there. We were so tight and spent every weekend together after training all week long. We spent Halloween in Champaign and what a blast that was. The city was closed off and everyone was dressed up including us. I am sure there are other things that I am forgetting it has been so many years and seems like yesterday really. Thank you so much for sharing these pics they certainly helped me to recover a few of the foggy memories of my time there.

  • I was at chanted from March 1965 to Jan 1966 for phase 2 training in the lab at the hospital.
    Rode through their today and could not recognize very little.
    Thanks for the site.

  • I was stationed at Chanute right out of basic in June 1963. We rode a train from Texas, via St Louis to Champaign. Went through Minuteman Missile Facilities Specialist school, 541XOG, and graduated just after President Kennedy was killed in November. We were assigned to the 3348th, and our squadron area was rather isolated near the south perimeter of the base. School consisted of about 6 hours a day inside a security building. The main chow hall holds a soft spot in my heart. While in a holding squadron waiting for my class to start, I was pulling KP, and put about 60 pounds of potatoes in an “automatic” peeler… a drum with an abrasive inside. I reduced all potatoes to about golf ball size.
    I returned in 65 TDY for some training on a new system, and never went back. I will stop there this July (2016) to look around again, and see what is left of the place. I still have some fond memories of the place and the people I was stationed with. The last fellow class mate that I kept in touch with died in 2005… not sure what happened to the others.

  • I was in the USAF from 1991 – 1995. Went to Chanute AFB from June to August 1991 for aircraft maintenance training – one of the last classes. It was H O T in the summer. The base was old and had few people. Not a beehive of activity. The second floor of the dorms we stayed in was closed due to so few people training. Did laundry one night and came back to a dark room. Did not want to turn on the light and disturb my roommate who was sleeping. Dumped clean laundry in locker as one mass and intended to fold and store the next day. Surprise room inspection the next day and I got in trouble for the pile of laundry. I was punished by having to go up to the second floor of the dorms on a Saturday and scape floor wax off the floor with a razor. Made no sense since the second floor was not used and the base was closing. I did my best in case they came and looked and decided to yell and scream. Did not always enjoy the military, but Chanute was interesting. I saw Silence of the Lambs in the summer of 1991 at the movie theater on base. One was closed and the other was still operating. I saw nice older brick homes for the officers on base. Rantoul was a dump. I think it was the last time I was ever in a Ben Franklin store there in Rantoul. Although I do not like the military, I feel sorry for the town and those that had a better experience at Chanute. It must be sad for those people. I went on to Kadena AB, Okinawa, for two years and spent some time at Castle AFB (closed October 1995), Atwater, California. castle was old, but warm and clear and it had palm trees. very relaxed as it too was closing. I liked the cow hall they had at Chanute. It had really interesting historical photos of the base. I have not been back since, but one day I may return to Castle AFB to check it out. My dorms there are still abandoned.

  • I reported in at Chanute Field in Mar ’56 for Link Instrument Trainer, known as the Link C-11. Assigned to the 48th Student Squadron. Classes were held in P-3, which we felt was so huge, like a castle. We marched from the western area of the base to that huge chow hall before day light. Then marched to P-3 where every Friday it was review day marching down the flight line. Enjoyed the 9 months there, had some fun weekends in Chicago and WI and the small towns around Chanute. It is always sad to see my former bases in such conditions having known them in their middle age. I don’t remember ever seeing this rock castle looking building shown here, with a passage that looks like the coach entry.

  • I worked in the Management Engineering detachment in White Hall in the early 80s. So sad how quickly it has fallen into ruin.

  • I was a Missile Systems Analyst trainee from Mar-Oct 1973. Made some good friends and a lot of memories during that 8+ months. Marched a lot of cold miles from barracks to chow to school and back. We were running school 24×7 in 4 6-hour shifts. My primary shift was afternoon shift (12-6). Sometimes I’d get permission to go to day shift on Fridays so I could make a long weekend drive back to Kansas to see my fiancee. Took riders along to help pay for gas, one regular I would drop off at an underpass in Kansas City, and pick him up the same place on the way back to base.

    • I was at chute 1973 minuteman missile call. Anyone else

    • I was there the same time as you in march of 1973 under the Minute Man Missile Mechanic Training school. I lived in a small farming community just a few miles from the base so my weekends were always spent back home with family the entire time I was there. I was lucky to draw Whitman AFB as my first Duty Station. and even though it was a big drive home from there i made it at least once a month. Like you I offered rides to fellow Airmen in exchange for gas to areas around the Midwest and would usually stay with there families for the weekend and meeting new people and places.

  • I was stationed there for technical schooling as an aircraft mechanic in 1964. Home was in Indiana, basic training was in Texas, and from Chanute I was sent to New Mexico. Drove there in my first car, a 1957 Pontiac I bought with money I made tailoring fatigues and khakis with a sewing machine I borrowed from my sister. The guys protected me by sneaking it out when officers searched for the culprit who was pegging uniforms. Good memories of a confused time in history.

  • Thank you for posting all the photos for us to enjoy. It’s very sad indeed and an awful shame to see such a great place just wasting away. I was stationed there in 1980 for Flight Simulator training. My class was one of the last to be trained on analog flight simulators before everything went digital. Spent many hours in White Hall. It was HUGE! Lots of fond memories of the T-38 simulators that were there. And yes, it was COLD in the winter. We all marched to school at 5am in the snow. The Air Force had recently gone to the low visibility markings on uniforms and when it was really cold in the early morning hours(before daylight), we all wore black wool face masks. Many times in the morning, while waiting to be called to attention, someone would come up to you and start talking and then realize you weren’t the person they thought you were! There was a club/bar there called the Pitt and Ping that was popular with a lot of the young folks in training. I enjoyed my time spent there. Lots of memories.

    • I was stationed at chanute, January-April 1982, I was assigned to F.P.R.C the first week before school started, that was the Air Force’s fancy word for Frozen, Precipitation Removal Crew, shoveling sidewalks, if we could find them in the snow drifts!, Anyway my field of training was refuler mechanic, needless to say my fellow Airman were Great, there was 4 guys and one female who I remember, we would help each other out, if one was having a hard time, we would all pitch in to get our fellow classmate caught up, I was assigned to Kadena Air Base, in Okinawa Japan after Tech Training, from blizzards to Typhoons! What a ride! I saw a postcard on Chanute and was saddened by the state of my training base, it was like losing a family member😪, maybe someday I will have a chance to see her again, but for now I’ll keep the memories of my time there and grateful for the photographer’s work, keep it up.

  • In 1991 at SIU, I did a thesis on “The Cost/Benefit Analysis of the Closing of Chanute Air Force Base” so your video and outstanding photos are very moving for me–especially as a photographer myself.

    Great job!

    I would be interested in the backstory about how you received permission to make these photos along with the specialized training/equipment you needed to stay safe in such a contaminated environment.

    Thank you for taking the time and effort to document a critical part of our nation’s history through the lens of photographic evidence.

    ~Jeff at JSJ Photography

  • I was at Chanute from July 1968 to Dec 1968 and took a class as a metal processing specialist, which turned out to be a welder. It was the first place I was stationed after leaving basic training, I am very sad to see the condition and closing of that base, I had so many memories there, and so many friends I have no idea where they are. And I used to love the pizza that the guy use to bring to the baracks, but like everything else he is probably gone too.

  • I was in the Air Force from 1976 to 1980. Basic at Lackland AFB, tech training at Keesler AB, 3 years Kadena AB, Okinawa Japan and last 6 months of enlistment at Vandenberg AFB.

    Never made it to Chanute but, knew a lot of Airmen who had been stationed there. the general concenus was the weather was extremely cold in the winter. Enjoyed your photos and the letters from the people who had been assigned to Chanute.

    Thank you.

  • I spent the summer of 1976 there training as an aircraft mechanic, jet over two. I made some lifetime friends there. It’s amaIng to see how quickly the place has fallen into ruin. Very sad.

  • I was stationed at Chanute from 1980-83. My first assignment as a 2nd Lt. I find these pictures depressing. I am doing a squadron reunion at the AF Museum in Dayton Ohio next Sept and plan to drive over to Rantoul. I understand the Chanute museum has closed recently. I also believe the village of Rantoul is using the base bowling center for their public library.

  • Beautiful pictures. I was permanent party with the band from 89-91. Wonderful memories from my time there. A former bandsman still races cars on the flight line from time to time (hi Brian if you ever read this). Only set foot in White Hall once. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

  • I spend the latter half of 1980 attending and graduating from the Meteorological Forecasting Course (Joint AF/Navy) at Chanute. I then was assigned to NAS Chase Field, Texas as a Flight Weather Forecaster. Chanute was referred to by Navy personnel as the Corn Field Navy.

  • I spent the latter part of 1980 attending the Meterological Forecasting Course (Joint Air Force/Navy). We referred to Chanute as the Corn Field Navy. After gradation, I was then assigned to Naval Air Station Chase Field, TX as an aviation forecaster.

  • I am so dissapointed to the condition that this base is in. I enjoyed every moment I spent at Chanute. I remember the huge trophy that sat in the dining hall. The grounds were always well kept. To see it now, disapointing.

  • I was at Chanute for only eight weeks for my tech school training right out of basic training. 1-July-1968 to 1-September-1968
    I was a “Protective Equipment Specialist” 92250. Later we would be called “Life Support Specialist.” I cant believe this base wasting away like this. Very sad indeed. My next duty assignment after Chanute was Myrtle Beach AFB SC. Both these bases closed about the same time period. A true wast of two beautiful military installations. What stands out in my mind more than anything else about Chanute was the B-36 Peace-Maker on the flight line. How could anything that big ever fly? Your photos has brought back many wonderful memories the short time I was at Chanute AFB. Thank You!

  • Spent the summer of 83 at Chanute going through the Fabrication and Parachute training course. I remember White Hall very well. It’s a shame to see Chanute looking like this. Had some fun in those days. Met some good friends there. Thanks for posting this.

  • I attended tech school at Chanute in 1978-79 and then returned as permanent party on a joint spouse assignment from 11/79 – 7/82. It is really sad to see what has become of this place. Many shuttered bases were returned to the local communities and successfully repurposed. Apparently Chanute was not so lucky. Thank you for creating this video testament to her past.

  • Our government should be made to clean this former base up. I went to AGE Tech School there from Dec 80 to May 81. It was an old but beautiful base back then but to see it like this sicken’s me. All the money spent on ALL the closed bases, such a waist of tax dollars. Where’s all the money gone our government said BRAC would save?

  • Amazing photos! We were one of the first families to move into the new NCO housing on Douglas Road. This would have been about 1958. My dad taught electronics. I went to Maplewood, Myna Thompson, JW Eater, and RTHS. When he retired, he opened The Music Box just off the Main Gate. I got out in the 1970s and have never been back. Eerie.

  • Fascinating photography. Vivid example of the temporary nature of all that feels eternal: mammoth brick buildings, bustling military bases, thriving metropolises. Poof. Not with the swing of a wrecking ball, but with the infinitely more powerful tip of an executive’s writing pen.

    Your shutter-and-light art has brought me where my mind wanders when I drive by the summer rag weed on the ground and untucked brick many floors up. What lies behind the shattered window panes? Whose ghost still roams the hallways, I ask myself?

    Your lenses show me what, Walter; the memorable comments here show me the who. Thank you.

  • Thank you so much for this work of art. I spent two tours at Chanute. First was 1978-1982 and returned in 1983 through 1988. I taught Jet Engines at Jackson Hall, p50 and later worked in White Hall in Wing Training.nnhow sad to see that majestic building go down.

    • Does anyone remember which building Aircraft Structural Repair (aka Sheet Metal) was taught in? I do not think it was White Hall – at least not in 1986. Also, I am having trouble remembering which dorm Structural Repair folks stayed in. I just remember my roommate was a guy from Life Support but he did not march to school with us sheet metal folks.

    • Hello Janet! I was there Nov85-Mar86 Jet Mech school. Are you the same lady who taught the Block 1 classes by chance? She was a civilian instructor

  • Almost all of my technical training was completed at Chanute starting in 1978. The current state of the place is a testament to government mismanagement and the wasting of tax payer funded resources.

  • Heartbreaking… Thousands of us worked & lived on/at Chanute. I was assigned to White Hall for many years. Hate seeing the condition of this historical building. So many positive memories in those walls, hallways & courtyards. Shameful this once beautiful building could not of been saved. Wing Resources… My “home” in the 80’s.

  • I was there from Aug68 to July69 Electronics Principles/Automatic Flight Control Systems. From there I went to Shaw AFB, McConnell AFB and ultimately to RAF Upper Heyford. I got out after 4 years and kick myself every day for not staying in. Anyone remember an instructor named Bill Runnels? He had the distinction of having an uncanny resemblance to Don Knotts. A whispered “Barney Fife” in the classroom would earn you the evil eye. I ran into him again at RAF Upper Heyford. Thanks for the memories.

  • In 1972 I spent more than 3 months at Chanute AFB training to be a Jet Engine mechanic. One of the best memories was the opening of the new mess hall! The AF couldn’t figure out where to send me after graduation, so I worked in the venetian blind repair shop. Played a lot of tennis, dated a WAF and generally had a great time.

    From Chanute I went to RAF Upper Heyford, England and spent two wonderful years, working on the TF30 P3 engine for the F-111 and visiting many locations in England and France.

  • 1st in the summer of 1978, 2nd in 1987, and the last as an Instructor and part of the base closure team from 1991-1993. I graduated the last weather forecasting class to ever attend at Chanute on May 5, 1993. My family and I transferred the next week. I remember driving us to P-3, or White Hall the morning we left and I got out in one of thge inner courtyards and walked around. I spent some quality time there and have always held the base high on my list of places I enjoyed. I remember P-3, or White Hall back in the 1978 and there were 100s of not 1000s of people inside the courtyard every single day. It was bussling with activity and maybe in its prime. A bit different in 1987 but still active. By 1993 there was only a couple of offices still open and it was almost scary. I remember having to due my CDO rounds at night and walk thru P-3 and it wasn’t a place I wanted to kick back and get some sleep. We graduated that last class in the inner courtyard of P-3 and I still have pictures of the graduation. P-3 was all abandoned and only people involved with the graduation in attendance. Senior Chief Jim Rawls

    • Oh yes, Jim Rawls. I remember those days with you guys, shutting ‘er down. I think my wife and I had that last walk through P-3 the day before we left, too. We put the lock on that NAVU door after leaving our offices and classrooms at the weather building. That’s right when I got out and into civvy land for three years before re-affiliation in the NavRes.
      These pictures are sad to look at but somewhat comforting, too. I remember the difference between being there in 85-86 and again as instructor in 90-93; how much it had changed in that short amount of time. My first teaching job was at O2, instructing on the TESS stations, and it’s weird to see all the trees growing in that most excellent of courtyards, where we’d have barbecues, and run around during our breaks, playing catch or soccer. Gab with you CDOs every night. Smoke cigarettes. Play the bowling machine. After I transferred to Navy Unique I only got to go to P-3 on admin business but I always made it a point to take a short “field trip” from the WX Bldg and would walk my students around the old classrooms you and I attended as students: the old Skew-T room (Mr. Geier), basic metro rooms, the former instructor offices, and especially up in the Live Lab. Man, what a trip. I had a chance to revisit these grounds back in 2007 while driving back east with the family but my parents were with us, and didn’t want to detour from the interstate. I was disappointed as now I hear they’re tearing down this amazing work of architecture.
      Hey, hope you’re doing well. We had great times there. I miss Chanute. I really miss getting drunk and playing my bagpipes in the courtyards late at night and freaking out the remaining service members. That was cool.
      Take care.

  • My father Charles E. Neubaum (with his wife Lillian and me) were stationed at Chanute from about 1956 – 1960. I attended Maplewood Elementary School (now torn down) right off base. We lived at 179 Circle Drive on base.

  • I grew up in Rantoul, IL home of Chanute AFB. My grandfather Burt (Delbert) Drinkwalter was on of the instructors in carpentry, according to my grandmother Gertrude Drinkwalter if memory serves me. Its wonderful to see the old pics.

  • Wonderful photos, but so sad. I served at Chanute in 1971-1972 between two tours in Thailand. I worked in the base information office and wrote for the base newspaper. I remember dealing with the local press during a couple “anti-war” sit-ins at the front gate.

  • Thank you… My Avionics training was done in White Hall in 1986. My wife and I have fond memories of our 6 months at Chanute. It is sad to see such a landmark crumble.

  • Thanks for bringing a little of the past history back…In your slide show picture #9 is my Grandfather sitting at the desk of the linc training control unit.

  • Very Sad thought this historic base could not be saved, I trained here as an Aircraft Sheet Metal (Airframe Repair Specialist) in Sept.1980 Made alot new friends and started my Adult life here as a 17 year old kid. A start to my 21 year Career.

  • Wow, 1986 I walked some of those halls. Casualty of closures and realignment is so sad. Thanks for sharing, very enlightening.

  • I grew up @ Chanute as an Air Force brat & left an enormous amount of friends & memories when i moved to the south in 79. After looking @ these pics, it’s all so sad.

    • Been a lot of years Pat. Do you remember Donna, Larry & Brian Truncale? We were there at the same time as you were and grew up there as well (mostly), until I too moved away. It is so very difficult to see this.

  • I first went to Chanute in 1969 as a student in electronics. My classes were in White Hall. I returned to Chanute in 1979 as an Instructor in the very course and classrooms that I had been in once before. The Base and all of the Static Display Aircraft were so impressive. It breaks my heart to see these pictures. I will always remember.

  • The state and federal government should have saved this great historical building. They could have turned it into a children’s home or a military school for kids of all ages. I remember going and sitting in the country and watching the planes. It is sad to know that such a grand building is being turned into rubble.

  • This was my first stop after basic in 1992 for vehicle mechanic school. I have great memories, and still have friends in town. I took my wife and daughter through the base as we traveled across country to my new duty station in 2013. I was shocked at the base in general. Trees growing through buildings etc. Kind of cool, yet kind of sad at the same time.

  • I worked in that building. I worked at Chanute AFB for 31 years. P-3 was a grand building. It’s such a shame that it could not be saved by someone. Now it’s beyond repair.

    • Google Earth shows an empty field where P-3/White Hall once stood.

      I did AG A-School (Cornfield Navy) in 1983 and stayed as part of the staff until I went to OCS in Oct 1985.