1917. The dawn of the Oshkosh Legacy.

Leading the globe from humble beginnings: A history of Oshkosh Corporation


We built Old Betsy, our first four-wheel drive truck, over 90 years ago. And we took on the name Oshkosh Motor Truck Manufacturing Company after moving to Oshkosh, Wisconsin in 1918.

Today, Oshkosh Corporation is revered as a leading designer and manufacturer of the world's toughest specialty trucks, truck bodies, and access equipment. No one understands extreme conditions like Oshkosh. Which is why no one builds fire and emergency apparatus, defense vehicles, and commercial and access equipment better.


A tradition of innovation and leadership: A history of Oshkosh Airport Products


In 1953, the first Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) vehicle was delivered to the U.S. Coast Guard. In 1968, the creation of the MB-5 for the U.S. Navy launched the company into a position of world leadership in the Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) industry. Soon after, the MB-1 was introduced as a 1,000-gallon capacity ARFF.  With the M-Series, Oshkosh offered a civilian line of ARFF vehicles. Oshkosh then introduced the U-30 airport tow tractor. It was unveiled in 1968 and used for pulling C5A cargo aircraft.

In the 1970’s, we changed our name to Oshkosh Truck Corporation.  We produced the R and E-Series ARFF vehicles and both are sold to the international over-the-road market; however, the E-series is a cab-over-engine model. Soon after, we produced a leading snow removal vehicle, the Oshkosh WT-2206, that allowed the snow removal unit to clear an airport runway in one clean pass. We achieved this by allowing the plow to turn around at the end of the runway. Prior to this, conventional snow removal vehicles were forced to return to the starting point and make a second pass facing the same direction as the first pass. In 1977, the P-15 ARFF vehicle was developed.  It featured two 495-HP Detroit Diesel V-8 engines and has a 6,000-gallon water capacity.  When the water was combined with foam concentrate, this massive truck could discharge 60,000 gallons of extinguishing foam.

The 80’s and 90’s were marked with equal success and innovation. In 1984, the P-19 ARFF vehicle contract is awarded to Oshkosh.  This 1000-gallon ARFF vehicle is air transportable so it can be stationed anywhere the military needs. In 1995, Oshkosh becomes the first manufacturer of on and off-road trucks to achieve ISO 9001 certification, an international standard for quality assurance.