Chanute Air Force Base (AFB) is located in the north-central portion of Champaign County in east-central Illinois. The main base covers 2,125 acres in the Village of Rantoul. A small stream, Salt Fork Creek, flows along the southern perimeter and directly through the southeastern corner of the base. The primary mission of the base was to provide military and technical training for Air Force personnel and civilian employees and for other Department of Defense personnel. The training activities focused on operation and maintenance of military aircraft and ground support equipment.
Chanute AFB was constructed in 1917 and initially served as a pilot training facility and a storage depot for aircraft engines and paint. The base served as a training school for all Air Corps mechanics from 1922 to 1938. During World War II, technical training operations focused on aircraft maintenance and metal processing. Military flight operations were terminated at Chanute AFB in 1971, and base closure began in 1990 in response to an order issued by the Secretary of Defense. All military operations at the base ceased in September 1993, and portions of the base became available for commercial and other uses. The Air Force Base Conversion Agency (AFBCA) currently oversees the base closure.