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US 498th Airbase Group

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498th Air Base

The 498th Air Base at night

US 498th Airbase Group hangar

Captain Christopher's base

Kirk and Sulu infiltrate the 498th Air Base

Kirk and Sulu infiltrate the 498th Air Base

The 498th Air Base Group was a military unit located on an unspecified Air Force base near Omaha, Nebraska, United States of America circa 1969 as part of the Air Defense Command. In that year, the USS Enterprise arrived in low Earth orbit above the base following a nearly catastrophic encounter with a black star which had displaced it in time.

Meanwhile, at another unnamed Air Force installation, Technician Webb reported the RADAR contact, and his superior ordered Captain John Christopher, a fighter pilot, to intercept what was then believed to be a UFO. In one version of history, Christopher's aircraft was caught and crushed by the Enterprise's tractor beam. Captain Kirk and Lieutenant Sulu infiltrated the 498th Air Base to retrieve the photographic and audio records of the incident that were recovered from the wreckage of Christopher's aircraft. Later, Spock devised a way to replay history that effectively erased the Enterprise's presence altogether. Its brief appearance was doubtless logged as one more strange aerial incident.

Captain John Christopher had been assigned to the 498th Air Base approximately one year prior to the events of this episode, and was therefore able to provide the Enterprise crew with detailed information on its layout. (TOS: "Tomorrow is Yesterday")

In 1967, there was no such installation as the 498th Air Base, nor was there a unit designated 498th Air Base Group. There was however, a 498th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, but it was based out of Paine AFB near Everett, WA. The "Omaha Installation" referred to in this episode is therefore most likely Offutt AFB, which is located near the Omaha suburb of Bellevue, Nebraska. The base "housekeeping" unit in 1967 was the 3902nd Air Base Wing. Also, in 1967 Offutt was headquarters to the Strategic Air Command, which is precisely where such photos and tapes would have been taken. The footage shown on screen was that of Offutt AFB, and more specifically of Building 500, the actual headquarters building of the Strategic Air Command.
Given the Enterprise's altitude at the time RADAR contact was made, Captain Christopher's and Webb's base could have been anywhere in North America.

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