The Naval History of Nebraska

By Naval History and Heritage Command Communication and Outreach Division

Though Nebraska is landlocked, the “Cornhusker State” has made waves in U.S. naval history.

Nebraska was admitted as the 37th state of the United States in 1867 and has at least 38 ships named for its cities, places, and people—with 3 alone named for its largest city: Omaha.

Quite a few notable Navy veterans hail from Nebraska. Joseph Rober “Bob” Kerrey, a U.S. Navy SEAL, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient and Senator is a native of Lincoln, NE. Vice Adm. Forrest S. Peterson, born in Holdrege, NE, served with the NASA Flight Research Center. Though he never made it to space, Peterson was the only Navy pilot to fly the X-15 aircraft, achieving an astonishing speed of 3,600 miles an hour (Mach 5.3) and an altitude of 102,000 feet.

As for naval installations, the Naval Ammunition Depot near Hastings, NE, was the largest United States World War II naval munitions plant operating from 1942 to 1946 when it produced over 40% of the U.S. Navy’s munitions. Additionally, the Navy Operational Support Center located in Little Rock provides services for U.S. Navy Reserve personnel in the area.

Check out our infographic for more information on the Sailors, ships, and places in Nebraska with ties to naval history and heritage!

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