Jarvis Offutt

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Jarvis Offutt
Birth name Jarvis Jenness Offutt
Born (1894-10-26)October 26, 1894
Omaha, Nebraska
Died August 13, 1918(1918-08-13) (aged 23)
Valheureux, France
Place of burial Forest Lawn Memorial Park
Omaha, Nebraska
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch Prop and wings.svg U.S. Army Air Service
Years of service 1916–1918
Rank First lieutenant
Unit No. 56 Squadron RAF (attached)

First Lieutenant Jarvis Jenness Offutt (October 26, 1894 – August 13, 1918) was an American aviator from Omaha, Nebraska, who died in World War I. Offutt Air Force Base is named in his honor.

Early life[edit]

Born and raised in Omaha, Offutt was the younger son of Charles and Bertha (Yost) Offutt. Charles (1856–1898) was an attorney and a former speaker of the Kentucky General Assembly, from Bourbon County.[1][2][3] He relocated to Omaha in 1888 and married four years later.[2]

The middle of three children, Jarvis had an older brother (Casper) and a younger sister (Virginia). He attended Central High School and graduated from the Lawrenceville Preparatory School in New Jersey in 1913. He went to college at Yale University in Connecticut and graduated in 1917.

Offutt was a member of Yale's Varsity Club, Glee Club, Alpha Delta Phi [1] fraternity, and was a Y track man, winning his honors in the high hurdles. He was also inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Society, an organization which recognizes high academic achievement.

Military career[edit]

While at Yale in 1916, Offutt served as a company supply sergeant for the Yale Field Artillery on a summer deployment to Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania. Later in 1916, he entered officer training at Fort Snelling, Minnesota, but after a month he asked to be transferred to aviation. He was one of 300 candidates sent from the United States to Canada to be trained by the Royal Flying Corps Canada. Offutt was then sent to Fort Worth, Texas, where he received his commission as a first lieutenant in the aviation section of the U.S. Army Signal Corps in November 1916. He afterwards assigned to the 22nd Aero Squadron and after more training boarded transport L501 (the S.S. Adriatic) on 31 January 1918 with the squadron bound for Liverpool, England.

Upon arrival the Squadron continued further training, after which he was assigned duties as a ferry pilot attached to the Royal Flying Corps. As a ferry pilot, Offutt's duties were to deliver aircraft from factories in England to bases at the front in France. In the course of these duties, he crossed the English Channel almost daily.

Death and legacy[edit]

At age 23, Offutt died on August 13, 1918, from injuries received while flying at Valheureux, France. It is unknown whether his death resulted from enemy action or from an aircraft accident. He was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Omaha.[4]

Six years later in 1924, the landing field at Fort Crook, south of Omaha at Bellevue, was renamed Offutt Field in his honor. The dedication ceremony on May 10, attended by Offutt's mother and brother Casper, featured an aerial salute from nineteen planes which circled the field; Major Charles Tinker commanded seven of the planes which flew from Fort Riley, Kansas, and dropped a dedicatory wreath to highlight the ceremony.

In 1948, both the airfield and Fort Crook were renamed Offutt Air Force Base on January 13; it became the headquarters for the Strategic Air Command (SAC) that November, which was succeeded in 1992 by Strategic Command.


  1. ^ "Bertha Yost Offutt and the Mysterious Gold Coast Mansion". My Omaha Obsession. October 18, 2016. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Charles Offutt". Report of the Annual Meeting. 22. American Bar Association. 1899. p. 689.
  3. ^ Gonzales, Cindy (April 5, 2013). "Midtown mansion could become family home once more amid uptick in sales". Omaha World-Herald. (Nebraska). Retrieved June 23, 2018.
  4. ^ Haymond, Charles (May 29, 2018). "RAF warrant officer leads renovation of Lt. Jarvis Offutt's grave". United States Air Force. (55th Wing Public Affairs). Retrieved June 23, 2018.
  • Hansen, SSgt A.I. (ed.). OAFBP 210-2:The History of Fort Crook (1888)/Offutt Air Force Base (1976). Offutt AFB, NE: 3902 Air Base Wing, 1981.

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