Base Insider

Ellsworth Air Force Base in Rapid City, SD

Ellsworth Air Force Base in Rapid City, South Dakota, is a crucial military installation that plays a significant role in the defense of the United States. With its rich history and strategic location, it stands as a symbol of American military power.

In this article, we will explore both the information surrounding Ellsworth Air Force Base and its captivating history. Topic 1: Information

Location and Mission

Ellsworth Air Force Base is located approximately 10 miles northeast of Rapid City, South Dakota. Nestled in the picturesque Black Hills region, it covers an expansive area of over 4,500 acres.

The base is named after Brigadier General Richard E. Ellsworth, a B-29 Superfortress pilot who died in a tragic plane crash.

This military installation serves as the home of the 28th Bomb Wing, one of only two B-1B Lancer strategic bomber units in the Air Force. The primary mission of Ellsworth Air Force Base is to provide combat-ready B-1B aircraft and airmen for global strike missions.

These missions include conventional and nuclear capabilities, making the base a critical component in maintaining national security.

Unique Features

One of the distinctive features of Ellsworth Air Force Base is the presence of the South Dakota Air and Space Museum. Situated on the base grounds, this museum showcases historic aircraft, missiles, and exhibits that elucidate the history of aviation and space exploration.

In addition, the base hosts the prestigious Ellsworth Professional Development Center. This center is responsible for training and educating Air Force personnel, ensuring they are equipped with the necessary skills to excel in their military careers.

Topic 2: History

Foundation and Early Years

Established in 1941, Ellsworth Air Force Base has a rich history that traces back to the early days of World War II. Originally known as the Rapid City Army Air Base, it served as a training ground for B-17 Flying Fortress units.

The base had a critical role in training bomber crews that would ultimately contribute to the Allied victory in the war.

Post-War Developments

Following World War II, Ellsworth Air Force Base underwent changes to adapt to the evolving military landscape. It played a pivotal role during the Cold War in the strategic deterrent mission.

The base became home to various bomber units equipped with state-of-the-art aircraft, including the B-29 Superfortress and later, the B-52 Stratofortress. During the 1950s and 1960s, the base underwent significant expansions and upgrades to accommodate the changing military requirements.

These enhancements included the construction of new hangars, barracks, and support facilities.

Modern Era and Global Operations

As the world entered the 21st century, Ellsworth Air Force Base continued to evolve and adapt to new challenges. The base’s focus shifted towards the B-1B Lancer bomber, which offered enhanced capabilities in the rapidly changing global security landscape.

Ellsworth Air Force Base has been a central player in U.S. military operations worldwide. Its bombers have participated in numerous combat missions, including those in Iraq and Afghanistan.


Ellsworth Air Force Base stands as a testament to the unwavering commitment of the United States military to protect the nation’s interests. With its strategic location and dedicated personnel, the base has played a crucial role in national defense for over seven decades.

As we look to the future, Ellsworth Air Force Base remains an essential pillar of American military power. Topic 3: Mission

The mission of Ellsworth Air Force Base is to provide combat-ready B-1B Lancer aircraft and airmen for global strike missions.

These missions encompass both conventional and nuclear capabilities, highlighting the base’s important strategic role in maintaining national security. The B-1B Lancer, also known as the “Bone,” is a long-range, multi-mission bomber that is capable of carrying a variety of weapons.

Its advanced capabilities allow it to penetrate hostile airspace and deliver a versatile array of munitions with precision and accuracy. One of the main tenets of Ellsworth Air Force Base’s mission is to ensure the utmost readiness of both the personnel and the aircraft.

The base is home to the 28th Bomb Wing, which consists of over 4,000 military and civilian professionals. These individuals undergo rigorous training to ensure they are prepared for any mission that may arise.

In addition, the base’s maintenance and support personnel play a critical role in ensuring the B-1B Lancers are in optimal condition for flight. These dedicated individuals work diligently to maintain the aircraft, conducting inspections, repairs, and upgrades as necessary.

Ellsworth Air Force Base also holds various exercises and trainings to enhance operational readiness. These exercises, both locally and in collaboration with other military units, allow the base to simulate real-world scenarios and ensure seamless integration with other branches of the Armed Forces.

Furthermore, the base actively participates in joint and coalition operations. This means that Ellsworth Air Force Base works hand in hand with international partners to tackle global security challenges.

Through these collaborations, the base contributes to strengthening alliances and fostering international cooperation. A crucial aspect of Ellsworth Air Force Base’s mission is the nuclear deterrent role it fulfills.

As one of the Strategic Air Command bases, it is responsible for maintaining the United States’ nuclear capabilities. This includes the readiness of the base to launch nuclear strikes if the national security demands it.

The base adheres to strict protocols and procedures to ensure the safety and security of its nuclear assets. Beyond its primary mission, Ellsworth Air Force Base also engages in various community outreach programs.

These initiatives aim to build relationships with the local community, fostering a sense of understanding and support. The base organizes events such as air shows, open houses, and educational programs to engage and educate the public about its mission and capabilities.

Moreover, the base recognizes the importance of environmental sustainability and strives to minimize its ecological footprint. Efforts are made to protect and conserve the natural resources surrounding the base.

In summary, the mission of Ellsworth Air Force Base revolves around providing combat-ready B-1B Lancer aircraft and well-trained airmen for global strike missions. The base’s operational readiness, joint and coalition exercises, as well as its commitment to the nuclear deterrent role, ensure that it remains a key asset in maintaining national security.

Through community engagement and environmental sustainability practices, Ellsworth Air Force Base integrates itself into the local community while minimizing its impact on the environment.

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