Guide to Living Near Offut Air Force Base

Ryan Renner - Omaha Real Estate Agent
By: Ryan Renner, Realtor

I have helped many families moving to Omaha. Contact me if you have any questions about the Omaha area or need help buying a home.

Did you receive PCS orders for Offut Air Force Base? Learn what it’s like to live and work in the Omaha area.

Offutt Air Force Base Entrance

Brief History

Offutt Air Force Base is the headquarters of the U.S. Strategic Command, the Air Force Weather Agency, and the 55th Wing.

Its mission is to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, electronic attack, and nuclear command and control to national leadership and warfighters.

The Army established the base, Fort Crook, in the late 1800s. The fort later established an airfield to grow its aviation capabilities. The name was changed in 1924 to honor Omaha’s first World War I air casualty, Lt. Jarvis J. Offutt. It was transferred to the Air Force in 1948.

The 55th Wing arrived in 1966 and was officially assigned here in 1991.

The base provides recreational opportunities, including the 183-acre Offutt Base Lake Recreation Area. The area has sports courts, an archery range, an indoor pool, disc golf, and a playground. It also offers 40 campsites. Lake Offutt offers a stocked fishing lake and paddle boating and kayaking.

The base has three gates, two of which are open 24/7.

About 7,986 active military members, 6,212 dependents, 2,764 Department of Defense civilians, 1,157 other civilians, and 26,000 retirees live here.

2019 Flood and New Runway

Offutt experienced record flooding in the spring of 2019. It caused damage to dozens of buildings, covered some of the runways, and forced evacuations of personnel and aircraft.

In 2021, an 18-month project began to replace the 80-year-old runway.

During that time, Offutt’s fleet of more than 30 aircraft was operated out of a remodeled space at the Lincoln Airport, about 50 miles away.

United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM)

U.S. Strategic Command is one of eleven unified commands under the Department of Defense (DoD). Headquartered at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, USSTRATCOM is responsible for strategic deterrence, global strike, and operating the Defense Department’s Global Information Grid.

United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM)

The General Curtis E. LeMay Building (pictured above) is Command and Control Facility for USSTRATCOM. It is a 916,000-square-foot facility with over 3,000 personnel.

Where is Offutt Air Force Base?

Offutt Air Force Base is located about 12 miles from downtown Omaha.

Offutt Air Force Base Map

The nearby communities of Omaha, Bellevue, and Papillion support the base and the military lifestyle.

With a population of almost 500,000, Omaha is Nebraska’s largest city and the anchor city of the Omaha metro area which has almost 1 million people.

Five Fortune 1000 companies and several other big companies are headquartered in the area

Bellevue, which is just outside the base, is a city of about 54,000, and its metropolitan area has about 82,000 people.

Offutt Air Force Base - Stratcom Gate

The Greater Omaha area has a lot of attractions to explore. The Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge is a 3,000-foot pedestrian and bike bridge over Nebraska and Iowa. Omaha is also home to performing arts, including theater, ballet, and symphony, and has an annual blues, jazz, and gospel festival. The region also offers extensive dining and shopping options.

And if Nebraska isn’t your thing, you can hop over the Missouri River into Iowa.

Where Should You Live?

BAH gives active service members the option to live on or off base. If you choose to live off base, here are some choices.


If you are looking for an easy commute, then start your search in Bellevue. Bellevue has a vast military population because of it’s proximity to the base.

The city itself has about 60,000 people but it’s really just a suburb of Omaha. It’s tough to tell where Omaha ends, and Bellevue begins. Bellevue has a decent number of housing options.

If you are looking to buy, expect to spend between $175k-$450k.

Here is a list of current homes for sale in Bellevue.

If you are looking for a newer apartment or newer home, you may want to consider Papillion.

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Papillion, Nebraska - Aerial Photo
An aerial view of downtown Papillion looking north.

Just to the west of Offutt (and Bellevue) is Papillion. It is a small city in Sarpy County and a suburb of Omaha. Elle Decor ranked it as one of the best small cities.

The commute to Offutt is pretty fast.

If you choose to live in Papillion, you will have an even wider range of homes, condos, and apartments. Although, prices are generally a little higher in Papillion than in Bellevue.

Papillion homes range in price from $250k-$500k. Here is a list of current homes for sale in Papillion.

The city has a large park in its center, Halleck Park, including trails, open spaces, an aquatics park, and recreational facilities.

If you love baseball, then check on the Triple-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. The Omaha Storm Chasers play their games in Papillion.


U.S. News and World Report have ranked Omaha the 25th best place to live and the 15th cheapest.

Your commute to Offutt will vary depending on where you decide to live. It could be 10 minutes. It could be 30 minutes.

You will certainly have a ton of different housing options to choose from.


I created a page dedicated to all the different neighborhoods in midtown Omaha, but here are a couple of highlights.

On the affordable side, take a look at Benson. You can buy a home for around $150k – $250k. There are also a bunch of rental options.

Aksarben offers an older, established neighborhood next to a modern, mixed-use development with many entertainment and restaurant options. It’s close to the University of Nebraska – Omaha campus. It offers upscale housing options that sell from $200,000s and rent for about $1,100.


Old Market, one of the city’s most historic and entertaining neighborhoods, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It retains its cobblestone streets from the turn of the 20th century and roving street musicians, yet it has many modern restaurants, stores, and art galleries. Old Market has historic homes, modern condos for sale, and apartments and houses for rent. Prices are a bit more expensive than in some other areas of the city. Omaha also features several other exciting neighborhoods, including Dundee and Florence.

Iowa / Council Bluffs

Council Bluffs is in Iowa but only about 15 miles from Offutt. Houses in Council Bluffs tend to be a little less expensive than those in Omaha. The population is about 63,000. It also has several neighborhoods such as Downtown, the West End, the South End, Oakland Fairview, and Madison Avenue.

Other options

I haven’t covered all the options here. Some service members are fine with a longer commuter and call Glenwood, IA home or even Nebraska City.

Plattsmouth is another popular option south of the base and not too far from Offutt.

Rent or Buy?

Should you rent or buy while stationed at Offutt?

There are pros and cons to each.

Everyone’s circumstances are unique, and it’s tough to recommend one without knowing your specific situation.

But here are a few points to consider.

Pros of renting…

  • Low maintenance. The landlord will take care of most of my repairs.
  • Lower monthly costs. A rent payment may be less expensive than a mortgage.
  • Federal law allows you to terminate a lease early if you receive military orders and need to relocate.

Pros of buying a home (especially with a VA loan)…

  • Little to no down payment.
  • Tax breaks
  • Renovate and customize the home how you want.
  • Build up equity

VA Home Loan

The VA loan is an amazing benefit

If you are looking for a local VA lender to help advise you on what you can qualify for, and what your monthly payments might be, please reach out to me.


You will need clothing for multiple seasons. Winters are cold, and summers are hot and humid. Spring and fall are moderate and pleasant. On average, the area receives 20 to 30 inches of snow annually.

If you want to learn more about the weather and tornadoes, I created a specific page about the weather.

Base Housing Options

If you live on base, choices vary depending on rank and marital status.

If you are single, ranked E1 to E4 with less than three years of service, you have private but basic accommodations in the barracks.

Each dorm includes free Wi-Fi, extra-large flat-screen TVs, recreation equipment in the dayrooms, fully-equipped kitchens, and security cameras.

Coffman Heights at Rising View Offutt Air Force Base Housing

If you are married, of a higher rank, or have more years of service, on-base housing is handled by a private company. 

Rising View offers two to four-bedroom homes based on rank and family size. A variety of floor plans are available. The homes are pet friendly, and community amenities include 61 tot lots and playgrounds, a dog walking park, a soccer field, sand volleyball courts, walking trails, basketball courts, picnic pavilions, and a community center.

2023 BAH Rates

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There are a lot of different schools to choose from when stationed at Offutt.

Birchcrest Elementary School

School districts can be a little complicated, so I created a separate page that goes into more detail on schools in the Omaha area.

If you want to obtain a secondary or post-graduate degree, look at Bellevue University or the University of Nebraska – Omaha.

Base schools

Students living on the base attend Bellevue Public Schools. The school district has 15 elementary schools, three middle schools, and two high schools. There are three elementary on the base.