Omaha in Douglas County, Nebraska — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
Observation Balloon Training at Fort Omaha
Fort Omaha Walking Tour
After nine years of inactivity, Fort Omaha reopened in 1905 as a school for noncommissioned Signal Corps officers. A structure to house the army’s only dirigible (balloon airship) was completed in 1908, and the first dirigible flew in April 1909. Four years later all personnel and property were transferred to Fort Leavenworth.
Under threat of world war, Fort Omaha was reactivated in 1916 to house a Balloon School led by Captain Charles Chandler. In 1919 Florence Field, 119 acres about one-and-a-half miles north of here, was acquired for a subpost to provide space for more balloons.
Balloon training demanded many hours of map reading, charting enemy installations and troop movements, and refining methods to relay information. A telephone line from the balloon’s basket connected observers to an extensive switchboard system. Using a code, balloonists could direct artillery battery toward enemy installations. Even though a fixed balloon was a prime target itself, 16,000 men enthusiastically trained at Fort Omaha during World War I.
Because photoreconnaissance by airplane was still awkward and inaccurate, many types of observation balloons were tested at Fort Omaha. The Caquot, the best of the “captive” (stationary) balloons, was shaped like a sausage, with tail fins to stabilize direction and
Erected by Metropolitan Community College, Historical Society of Douglas County, and Nebraska Committee for the Humanities. (Marker Number 5.)
Location. 41° 18.601′ N, 95° 57.458′ W. Marker is in Omaha, Nebraska, in Douglas County. Marker is on North Road, on the right when traveling west. Click for map. Marker is in front of Building 10, on the Metropolitan Community College Campus. Marker is in this post office area: Omaha NE 68111, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Fort Omaha Knights of Columbus Assembly Hall (within shouting distance of this marker); Fort Omaha Balloon School (within shouting distance of this marker); Quartermaster's Office and Commissary (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); General Crook's Headquarters at Fort Omaha (about 500 feet away); History of Fort Omaha (about 500 feet away); Fort Omaha Guardhouse (about 600 feet away); Crook House (about 700 feet away); President's House (about 700 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Omaha.
Also see . . .
1. Historic Fort Omaha. (Submitted on August 7, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas.)
2. Fort Omaha. (Submitted on August 7, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas.)
3. U.S. Army Ballooning History. (Submitted on August 7, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas.)
4. Caquot Type R Captive Observation Balloon. (Submitted on August 7, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas.)
5. Metropolitan Community College. (Submitted on August 7, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas.)
Categories. • Air & Space • Education • Forts, Castles • War, World I •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas. This page has been viewed 320 times since then and 60 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.