Chanute Air Force Base, Illinois was one of our first Air Force bases, built in 1917 near Rantoul, Illinois to train World War One fliers before the U. S. Air Force was a separate service. At the time it was the flying arm of the U. S. Army. The base was named for Octave Chanute, a pioneer in U. S. aviation. The base was eventually closed in a big round of base closings in 1993.
Don't shoot 'em, Chanute 'em was a common phrase heard around the base as alot of people felt they were punished by being sent to the base in east-central Illinois. As for me, I loved it. I was stationed there three times for a total of seven and a half of my twenty years service. I was stationed there from 2-69 to 3-71, 3-73 to 3-74 and 3-77 to 3-81. My most memorable experiences were in the first two years I was there. We travelled 15 miles to nearby Champaign-Urbana to watch the University of IllinoisFighting Illini play, went to the Red Lion Inn to see REO Speedwagon perform before they hit the big time, and saw Pork and the Havana Ducks at various bars around the area. We spent weekends exploring Robert Allerton Park long before it became a major tourist attraction. And of course we spent three days out in the mud and rain at a rock concert near Bloomington-Normal memorial day weekend 1969. Also, during that period, we were involved in Viet-Nam. We had blood drives every two weeks and would send the blood to McGuire AFB, NJ for transhipment. I worked in medical supply which supplied the couriers for the blood, so on alot of friday's I got on the T-29 or whatever it was and accompanied the blood. This was a special blood flight. No holding patterns. After dropping off the blood the plane would usually stop at one or more other air force bases before returning in the afternoon.
I have no pictures of the base itself when I was stationed there. But I do have some pictures taken by my friend, David Wehrwein. Go HERE To see Dave's pictures.
Chanute is well known for it's long harsh winters with lots of snow. I remember times when the town, the base and the whole highway system was shut down because of snow. For this reason I have included the midi 'winter wonderland' as the background music if you choose to start it and have included some snow pictures below for your viewing pleasure.
Jerry "Pork" Armstrong - Died 9-13-2003 in Harristown, IL, U.S. - Heart attack ( Country Rock ) Born 1948 - Singer - He led Pork & The Havana Ducks. (They did, "Giving Whiskey One More Chance" and "Right Street Wrong Direction").