“On Broken Wings” – Chanute Air Force Base

 

 

Chanute_Air_Force_Base_-_1940s_postcardChanute_Air_Force_Base_-_1950s_postcard

(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.

107 Comments

  1. John Fabac

    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.

  2. Joe Bock

    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.

  3. david timpany

    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.

  4. Maribel Pardo

    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.

  5. Derek

    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.

  6. TSgt Michael C. Bernhardt

    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.

  7. Ronald B. Williamson

    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.

  8. Bob Allen

    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.

  9. Frank Fox

    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.

  10. Betsy Register

    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..

  11. Michael Krizsanitz

    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.

  12. L Flaggert

    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.

  13. Joaquin Robledo Jr

    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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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 ammsalumni.com for more photos of the base. Went to OTS in 1972 to become a navigator but changed my mind during OTS.
    Mistake

  16. Don Wiggins

    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.

  17. Jim Gilbertson

    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.

  18. Mike Kapustin

    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…

  19. William (bill) oerly

    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

  20. Rian Flanagan

    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.

  21. 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.

    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.

  22. Gary Weaver

    I was there for Aircraft Maintenance in the 70’s.

  23. Marianne Choich Miller

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

  24. Pete Mendelsohn

    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. 😉

  25. Dan C

    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.

  26. George Mack

    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.

  27. Lee Arrington

    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……………..

  28. Lynn Fox

    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!

  29. Capt. Jimmy Powerrs

    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.

  30. mohammad hallaji

    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

  31. Joe Kania

    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.

    • Pat spellacy

      There about the same time…remember it being really cold and windy

  32. Robert [BOB] Klein

    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

  33. J. Wills

    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.

  34. 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.

  35. E. Reardon

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

  36. Michael J Winpenny

    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

      4104912288

  37. Salvador Hernandez

    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.

  38. Frank Ormonde

    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.

  39. Denise Herndon (Davis-Cox)

    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.

  40. Ed Reece

    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.

  41. Sgt Anthony R. Blake

    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

  42. 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.

  43. David Hunt TSGT (ret)

    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

  44. 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.

  45. David Lipkin

    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.

  46. Les Schroeppel

    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.

  47. Ronald Williamson

    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.

  48. Gary J. Bosco

    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.

  49. RICHARD...AKA..TONY THOMPSON

    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 there..so 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…~~!!!!!!!!!!!

  50. Robyn Smith

    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.

  51. Audiohub

    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.

  52. 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.

  53. Jackie Crumpton Ferris

    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.

  54. Paul Straney

    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.

  55. Michael Mayo

    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.

  56. Richard Cowell

    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.

  57. Clarke Pringle

    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.
    Clarke

  58. 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.

  59. Larry W Hunt

    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.

  60. Lee Linares

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

  61. 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.

    • (Author)

      Thanks for sharing! I love these stories! Keep them coming 🙂

    • I am Michel gary Adkins. Also there at chanute 1973 for minuteman missile class. Anyone else ?

      I was at chute 1973 minuteman missile call. Anyone else

  62. Dave Livingston

    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.

  63. Ben Howell

    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.

  64. 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
    https://www.facebook.com/JSJPhotography1122

  65. Bobby Bowens

    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.

  66. Sean Edwards

    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.

  67. Greg Parsons

    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.

  68. Neena Wright

    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.

  69. Steve P.

    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.

  70. 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.

  71. 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.

  72. M. Johnson

    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.

  73. Tom Dees

    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!

  74. Bill Robinson

    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.

  75. Julia Linger

    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.

  76. Glenn

    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?

  77. Cheri Scovil Roe

    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.

  78. 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.

  79. Janet groberski

    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.

    • (Author)

      Thank you for your service! Glad you enjoyed

    • Andres

      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.

  80. Dave Rose

    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.

  81. Lynne A. Zalenski

    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.

  82. Dave Johnson

    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.

  83. Jim Nethercott

    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.

  84. James V. Rawls

    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

    • Shaun M. Kelly, former AG1, SSG 133D Army Band (Retired)

      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.

  85. Gary Neubaum

    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.

  86. Nancy Fitzpatrick

    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.

  87. 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.

  88. Brad Wildeman

    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.

  89. Wonderful piece of work. Great reference to history, for history. Well done. (I also do abandoned things)

  90. Russell Anderson

    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.

  91. David H Ballentine II

    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.

  92. Dennis Flannery

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

  93. I was at Chanute in 1978 and my wife in 1979 for SRAM school. We stopped last year to see the base. It was very sad to see the conditions.

  94. Patrick McCubbins

    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.

    • Donna (Truncale) Munsen

      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.

  95. Gary Murphy

    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.

  96. Melissa

    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.

  97. Dave

    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.

  98. Shirley A. Wyatt

    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.

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