Fact Check

Offutt Air Force Base

Photographs show a 'Thank you for freedom' message plowed into a field near Offutt AFB?

Published April 10, 2011


Claim:   Photographs show a "Thank you for freedom" message plowed into a field near Offutt AFB.


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, December 2010]

This is just south of us on Hwy 75 south. A farmer does it with his tractor and not sure if he uses a plow or a disc. He uses GPS to get the letters readable. He has done this every fall for several years now.

Here's the view from the flight pattern into OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE (Bellevue, NE just south of Omaha). This is what our servicemen see when landing at Offutt AFB. Hat tip to the Bellevue farmer who made it happen!


Origins:   The message shown in this image was present in a field near Offutt Air Force Base as of December 2009, as reported by Bellevue station KPTM-TV:

A tractor plowing a field is a common site this time of year. But Chris Shotton isn't getting ready for next year's crop, he is carving a special message.

"'Thank you for our freedom.' it's 3,990 feet long which is 7 tenths of a mile," says Shotton.

That huge message is being put right in front of the runway at Offutt Air Force Base. The message isn't for people on the ground, it's for the airmen flying in the skies above. "You can't miss it, I mean it's right on the runway just about," says Bob Guerriere, Lieutenant, USAF.

"You can't hardly read it from anywhere else, you can't stand in the middle of a letter and tell where you are at until you see it from a couple thousand feet up," says Shotton. This is the fifth time Shotton has carved a message into the fields near Offutt. And it was all paid for by the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Bellevue.

"This is our veteran's day project to show our men and women out there how much we really appreciate their service and sacrifice that takes them away from home and away from their families," says Shotton.

The airmen who can see it appreciate his effort. "Well it's really inspiring, it's pretty cool, flying in seeing that the ground and thinking about how much effort somebody has put into creating such a simple message for the troops," says Andy Larson, Captain, USAF.

"It makes you fell welcome, especially when you come back after being gone for quite some time, it makes you fell welcome to come back and see something like that," says Guerriere. The airmen call it freedom field and pictures of it have been put up in the White House and the Pentagon.

"The military outs 'em in a lot of their magazines that go to bases all over the world and we get calls from bases all over the world. I was at my store in Council Bluffs and we got a call from Ramstein air force bases thanking us, we get calls from the USS Enterprise, 'we're in the Persian Gulf, we saw what you did, thank you for what your doing.'"

A Google maps image indicates the most recent message plowed into Chris Shotton's fields was "WalMart Salutes You! Our Heroes."

Last updated:   25 May 2012


    McCawley, Andrew.   "Field Carving Salutes Servicemen Flying Above Offutt."

    KPTM-TV [Bellevue, NE].   2 December 2009.

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