55th Wing dedicates new headquarters facility

  • Published
  • By 55th Wing Public Affairs

The 55th Wing officially unveiled their new headquarters facility and dedicated it to retired Col. William E. Riggs during a ceremony here April 30, 2021.

The wing’s new headquarters was previously home to U.S. Strategic Command, who moved into their new command and control facility in November 2019.

“Warhawks, past and present and future…we are finally home,” said Col. Gavin Marks, 55th Wing commander, during the ceremony which included four former wing commanders.

The 55th Wing has been without a permanent headquarters since floodwaters destroyed its previous facility in March 2019.

“Back in March, April, May and June of 2019, the 55th Wing was homeless. We were squatters in the Dougherty Conference Center,” Marks said. “So, today is an exciting today for us, but not just because we are rebranding a building. This is larger than that. Today is about resilience. This is the 55th Wing’s way of saying, ‘yes, we took a punch, and yes, we got knocked down, but today we are still standing, still strong.’”

During the ceremony, the wing dedicated the facility to Riggs, who helped move the wing to Offutt from Forbes Air Force Base, Kansas, in 1966. The 55th Wing Hall of Fame member is the longest serving commander in wing history, having led the Fightin’ Fifty-Fifth from August 29, 1966, to July 17, 1970.

“Please accept our family’s heartfelt thanks for recognizing daddy’s service and sacrifice,” said Kelly Riggs Witteman, the youngest of Riggs’ four daughters. “We have always known he was a bright shining star and to this day he remains our moral compass. He taught us to honor God and to honor country and how fitting, that today that you honor him by dedicating this headquarters building in this name.”

During Riggs tenure as commander, he also led the wing’s transition from the RB-47 to the RC-135 aircraft, which the wing continues to fly to this day.

“I can’t think of anyone more worthy to dedicate this facility to,” said John McQueney, 55th Wing historian. “He was the embodiment of service before self and a true wing hero in every sense.”

Also during the ceremony, Marks unveiled the renaming of three roads used to enter and exit the headquarters to 55th Street, Videmus Omnia View and Warhawk Way.

“When you get knocked down, it physically hurts, but sometimes it can also hurt your spirit,” Marks said. “Today is about a rebirth and a rekindling of our spirit. It serves as a spark to reignite our culture.”

In addition to the rebranding of the entire facility, the overall complex is also in the first of three phases of renovations. During phase one, large-scale infrastructure systems are being updated in addition to the second floor common areas, theater and cafeteria. During phase two, the first floor office spaces and exterior are to be upgraded and improved, and then the final phase includes the third floor and underground facilities.

The Col. William E. Riggs Building was originally built in 1955. It originally served as the home of Strategic Air Command prior to USSTRATCOM.