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Minnesota visitors receive surprise visit to Offutt

Visitors from Rochester, Minnesota, speak with Airmen in the 557th Weather Wing’s atrium at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, Sept. 19, 2019. The visit to Offutt AFB was a surprise as part of a three day mystery tour. (U.S. Air Force photo by Paul Shirk)

Visitors from Rochester, Minnesota, speak with Airmen in the 557th Weather Wing’s atrium at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, Sept. 19, 2019. The visit to Offutt AFB was a surprise as part of a three day mystery tour. (U.S. Air Force photo by Paul Shirk)

Visitors from Rochester, Minnesota, pose for a group photo with members of the 557th Weather Wing in front of the 557th WW headquarters building at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, Sept. 19, 2019. Members of the group annually bake cookies for care packages sent to deployed service members. (U.S. Air Force photo by Paul Shirk)

Visitors from Rochester, Minnesota, pose for a group photo with members of the 557th Weather Wing in front of the 557th WW headquarters building at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, Sept. 19, 2019. Members of the group annually bake cookies for care packages sent to deployed service members. (U.S. Air Force photo by Paul Shirk)

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. --

In what was an absolute surprise to all of them, 82 people from Southeastern Minnesota toured Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, Sept. 19, 2019.

The visit was part of three-day mystery tour to Western Iowa and Eastern Nebraska offered by Home Federal Savings Bank, a local bank.

“When they left Rochester they had no idea where they were going, not even to the state,” said Jean Jech, director of Home Federal Savings Bank’s Jubilee Travel Club. “Several of them bring maps of four different states, trying to figure out which way we’re going.”

The visit to Offutt AFB included mission and historical briefings at the 557th Weather Wing as well as lunch at the King Dining Facility. Members of the group also had the opportunity to speak with Airmen who have recently deployed.

One of the group’s annual activities is baking cookies for care packages to send to deployed service members. Following their visit to Offutt, several people signed up for the next cookie baking event, Jech noted.

Jech added that the group was amazed at the devastation caused by the base’s flooding and impressed with the role the 557th WW plays in the nation’s battles with the precision forecasting that must be done.