Chanute Air Force Base (1917–1993) is a former United States Air Force base located south of and adjacent to Rantoul, Illinois, about 130 miles south of Chicago. Its primary mission throughout its existence was Air Force technical training.
Prior to its closing by BRAC in 1993, Chanute was one of the oldest facilities in the United States Air Force. Chanute Field was established on 21 May 1917, being one of the initial World War I Army Air Service installations. Chanute AFB was named in honor of Octave Chanute (1832–1910), a pioneer aeronautical engineer and experimenter, and friend and adviser to the Wright Brothers. Chanute's biplane glider with "two arched wings held rigidly together by vertical struts and diagonal wire bracing" (the principle of the Pratt truss used in the railroad bridges which Chanute constructed) served as a prototype design for airplanes.
The base has subsequently been identified by the EPA as a toxic waste Superfund site, with the discovery of asbestos, dioxins, furans, and other carcinogenic substances at hidden dumping grounds around the facility.