Chanute Field

Retiree Activities Program at Chanute Air Force Base

Chanute Air Force Base was the key starting point for many service members' careers throughout its 75 years of existence. Men and women began their education, professions, and families at the base and were supported by the Chanute and Rantoul communities. The Chanute Collection has many examples of community groups coming together to help one another and positively impact the Rantoul area. From the Officer's Wives Club that supported the local nursing homes to the YMCA's children programs, there was a place and activities for all.

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Chanute Spotlight: Mark A. Greene

Group Photograph, Air Corps Supply and Techinical Clerks Class 1, January 25, 1935; Greene is the fourth from the left

On January 25th, 1935, Mark A. Greene graduated from the Air Supply and Technical Clerks course at Chanute Field. This course covered clerical subjects like typewriting, shorthand, organization, office machines, operations, business arithmetic, bookkeeping, military correspondence, and more. Greene described Chanute as “rundown buildings, many leftover from World War I.” According to Greene, “As a private, I was too poor in those days to afford a camera, but I don’t recall much that was worth photographing anyway.” Read more about Chanute Spotlight: Mark A. Greene

Intern Reflection: Working with the Chanute Collection

Greetings from Chanute postcard image with an airplane in clack and white

Greetings from Chanute Field postcard

Hi, I'm Rosemary Froeliger 2019-2020 Archives intern, and I have been asked by the Director of the Champaign County Historical Archive (CCHA) to reflect on my time working on the Chanute Collection. I have enjoyed reviewing all the work that my fellow intern Kevin and I have accomplished in what feels like a very short school year.

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Chanute Spotlight: Octave Chanute, “The God-father of Aviation”

Octave Chanute Portrait, stylized with a glider plane and a jet plane

We have talked about the many different men and women who have passed through Chanute Air Force Base and all of the great things they have accomplished. However, the man whose name the base carries is not as widely known. A renowned engineer, who would spend his later years working with notable figures like the Wright brothers, Octave Chanute's early work helped lay the foundation for human flight and the technical training that would later be achieved at Chanute Air Force Base.  Read more about Chanute Spotlight: Octave Chanute, “The God-father of Aviation”

Halloween at Chanute

Winners of the costume contest, Mrs. Hill and M. Sgt. R. L. Jackson pose for a photograph. Published in Chanute Field Wings on Friday, October 31, 1941.On Halloween in 1941, the Chanute Air Force Base (CAFB) saw a spooky night hosted by the Non-Commissioned Officer’s (NCO) club. “Ghosts, goblins, and broom riding witches cavorted beneath a bright harvest moon as the Chanute NCO club staged its annual Halloween Hop Saturday evening.” The event featured an award for the best costumes. The award was presented to Mrs. Hill, the wife of master sergeant Joe Hill, for her costume as Annie Oakley. Mrs. Hill’s western dress, prop gun and holster, and large ten gallon hat made for a quite compelling costume. Mrs. Hill shared the spotlight with master sergeant R. L. Jackson who humorously presented himself as “a professor of Science.” Bespectacled by horn-rimmed glasses, a professorial overcoat, and a long wig, Jackson inspired laughter amongst his fellow party goers. Read more about Halloween at Chanute

Chanute Air Force Base Closure: 26 Year Anniversary

On this day, September 30th, twenty-six years ago Chanute Air Force Base closed its doors along with several other Air Force bases across the country. Even though Chanute witnessed many changes in the United States, from the Great Depression to the technology boom in the 1980s, 1988 was the beginning of the end of an era for Chanute. It was a transition period in the United States as the Cold War came to an end and Americans were encouraged to look forward to a time where military force was no longer necessary. As plans unfolded, many people feared the effect Chanute’s closing would have on the Rantoul community. For those who are just learning about Chanute today, it is difficult to imagine how much an impact the Base had on the day-to-day life in Rantoul. However, when you compare the photos here, one from the 1917-1930s and the other from the 1990s, it is clear to see that when Chanute Air Force Base evolved so did the surrounding area. When the Base grew and expanded its influence so did local businesses, schools, and community groups.

Aerial photo of Chanute AFB and Rantoul, 1917-1930s   Aerial photo of Chanute AFB and Rantoul, 1990s Read more about Chanute Air Force Base Closure: 26 Year Anniversary

This May marks 100 years for the former Chanute Air Force Base, 1917 - 1993

Postcard from Chanute Air Force Base, 1945

This year the former Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul, Illinois celebrates its 100th anniversary. The base was established May 1917, following the United States’ entry into WWI and trained over 2 million servicemen and women during its 76 years of operation. Read more about This May marks 100 years for the former Chanute Air Force Base, 1917 - 1993

Chanute Airmen Feed the Birds

Chanute Air Force Base (1917-1993) located in Rantoul, Illinois was nationally known for its training of pilots, mechanics, aerial photographers, firefighters, and missile technicians, but locally the personnel were active members of the Rantoul and wider Champaign County community. One incident I uncovered recently highlights this relationship beautifully.

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