History Of Ellsworth Air Force Base
John Mollison of the South Dakota Air and Space Museum and Kim Morey of the South Dakota Air and Space Foundation talked about Ellsworth Air Force Base. Established in 1941 as a training ground for B-17 crews, Ellsworth Air Force Base would go on to play a major role in the United States‘ Cold War nuclear defenses.
C-SPANs Local Content Vehicles made a stop in their 2019 LCV Cities Tour in Rapid City, South Dakota, from September 7-13, 2019, to feature the history and literary life of the community.Working with the Comcast cable local affiliate, they visited literary and historic sites where local historians, authors, and civic leaders were interviewed.The history segments air on American History TV on C-SPAN3 and the literary events/non-fiction author segments air on Book TV on C-SPAN2. close
Museum Is Next To Ellsworth Air Force Base
On a 2 week road trip we decided to stop at places we have many times, just driven by. This was our first time at the Museum. The museum is just off I 90, right by the base. There is no charge for the museum. I highly recommend stopping if you like history and planes. We booked a tour of the base & the minuteman silo site. You get your $ 8 tickets to tour the base, when you enter the museum. A very friendly gal sold us our tickets. Her husband was stationed at the base. You do have to get checked out before you are allowed to enter the base. My brother was in the AF during the Vietnam war so I bought him something at the gift shop. Outside are many restored planes including General Eisenhower’s personal transport he used during WW11 to fly around Europe. This is a very nice museum & we are glad we stopped. We saw volunteers working on the restoration of some of the old planes.
A late review from last summers US road trip. I visited the museum in Jul 2013. It is a nice small museum with a few artifacts and missiles inside. The aircraft are parked outside around the museum and include a few historic and/or unique aircraft including a B 25 used as Gen Eisenhowers plane during WW2, a B52 and B1 bombers.
Ellsworth To Conduct B
RAPID CITY, S.D. – A B-1 aircrew from the 28th Bomb Wing will perform a flyover above Main Street in Sturgis. The flyover is scheduled for 3 p.m. Tuesday as part of the 22nd annual Veterans Recognition Ceremony.
The ceremony honoring veterans begins at 2 p.m. in Sturgis with remarks by the citys mayor, a prayer and color guard. Then there is a pause between 2:50 and 3:10 p.m. for the B-1 Lancer flyover.
Earlier in the day there is a motorcycle ride that starts at the South Dakota Air and Space Museum, ending in Sturgis for the honoring ceremony.
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Can I Rent Houses Near South Dakota Air And Space Museum
Yes, of course. Vrbo has 298 Houses near South Dakota Air and Space Museum. Our other popular types of vacation rentals near South Dakota Air and Space Museum include:
- Cabins: 33 rentals available
- Cottages: 32 rentals available
- Condos/Apartments: 83 rentals available
But you can also enjoy a great stay in one of our other vacation rentals including Bungalows and more.
Ellsworth Afb Bowling Alley
10. Bandit Lanes Recreation Center
1062 Boyington St.Ellsworth AFB, SD 57706Phone: 1 385-2536
Bandit Lanes Recreation Center is located on base and offers multiple bowling lanes, as well as breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late night eats!
805 E Saint Patrick St.Rapid City, SD 57701Phone: 1 342-2935
Robbinsdale Entertainment offers a pro shop, bowling leagues, cosmic bowling, youth programs, and tournaments. If you get hungry while enjoying the lanes, Robbinsdale Restaurant offers bowlers pizza, burgers, fries, and even homemade pies and cakes. Swing by the lounge and enjoy live music, pool, darts, bingo, and more. Additionally, theres a casino with 10 machines.
12. Meadowood Lanes
Rapid City, SD 57702Phone: 1 343-5985
Meadowood Lanes has 36 lanes with league bowling and special event packages. The Lounge boasts 8 big screen televisions, a huge projection screen, video lottery, pool, and darts. Make sure to swing by Meadowood Lanes restaurant between games and enjoy a burger, wings, pizza, and more.
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Visit To Ellsworth Air Force Base And Museum
Rapid City, SD is home to Ellsworth Air Force Base a former Minuteman Missile Base and today one of two remaining B-1 Bomber bases. At the Entrance to the base is the very excellent South Dakota Air and Space Museum. Alice and I had the opportunity to take a tour of the Base, and its associated Air & Space Museum, accompanied by our Good Friends from Hart Ranch, Mo and Judy Jones. Mo served 20 years in the United States Air Force, much of it here at Ellsworth, before retiring as a Master Sergeant.
During his Air Force career, Mo worked for many years in the support and programming of the Minuteman-1 ICBM missile forces. Mo was a hands on guy and a great guide to explain how these Systems worked. Please take a moment to view the pictures below and even more in the brief Slideshow at the bottom of this post. All Americans should be grateful to these Men & Women and the protection they provided to the United States during the Cold War.
The picture below shows the entrance to the Air and Space Museum and an Air Force B-1 Bomber our most capable Bomber. Ellsworth Air Force Base is home to the Air Force 28th Bomber Wing, 34th & 37th Squadrons of B-1 Bombers.
Alice & Jim LaPeer South Dakota Air and Space Museum, Ellsworth Air Force Base, SD
Air Force B-1 Bomber on display with a B-52 flying overhead.
This map shows the deployment of Missile Launch complexes around Ellsworth AFB .
Map of the Rapid City, SD deployment of Minuteman Missile launch sites.
Hello South Dakota Air And Space Museum At Ellsworth Air Force Base
For my final activity of the Rapid City area in South Dakota, I decided to visit the South Dakota Air and Space Museum, officially in Box Elder, but with an Ellsworth Air Force Base postal address and just outside the Ellsworth AFB secure entrance.
As Ive mentioned before, I know very little to nothing about aircraft, apart from just general information about commercial planes from major United States airline carriers that I ride to get to different places in the country. Because of this, I cant really give much specific information about the planes that I saw. To make matters worse, the actual museum was closed on the day I visited due to a private event, so I was only able to look at the planes parked outdoors and had very limited information.
With that being said, one of the more obscure supplementary reasons why I continue to go to air museums is actually because I personally think I am not very good at photographing aircraft, and one of the best ways to get better, apart from doing research and learning from someone who is already good at it, is to keep trying and practicing and analyzing your work to identify ways you can improve.
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Th Bombardment Wing 1948
When operations resumed in 1947, its primary unit was the new 28th Bombardment Wing flying the B-29.
The installation changed names a few more times during its early years. In January 1948, Air Force Chief of StaffGen Carl A. Spaatz renamed it Weaver Air Force Base in honor of Brig Gen Walter R. Weaver, one of the pioneers in the development of the Air Force. In June of that year, in response to overwhelming public appeals, Secretary of the Air Force Stuart Symington returned the base name to its previous name of Rapid City AFB.
More runway improvements were completed in July 1949, allowing the 28 BMW to switch from B-29s to the huge B-36 Peacemaker. In April 1950, the Air Staff reassigned the base from 15th Air Force to 8th Air Force.
In March 1953, an RB-36 crashed in Newfoundland while returning from a routine exercise in Europe, killing all 23 aboard, including Brigadier General Richard E. Ellsworth, commander of the 28th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing. On 13 June 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower visited the base to re-dedicate it in memory of Ellsworth. The base was subsequently renamed Ellsworth AFB, and unlike the previous local controversy in 1948, there was no community objection to the name change.
Air Defense Command, 1953-1962
Nike missiles, 1957-1962
A Brief History Of Ellsworth Air Force Base And The Base Today
|B-1B Lancers on the flightline at Ellsworth AFB in 2011|
In January of 1942, the U.S. War Department established Rapid City Army Air Base as a training location for B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bomber units.
In July of 1945 Rapid City AAB was placed on standby status as the Army Air Forces began to demobilize with the pending end of World War ii.
Rapid City AAB was again reactivated in October of 1945, and designated a permanent facility by the Army Air Force. The base briefly trained weather reconnaissance and combat squadrons using P-61 Black Widow, P-38 Lightning, P-51 Mustang, and B-25 Mitchell aircraft. The airfield was again temporarily closed from September 1946 Ã¢â¬â March 1947 for a major construction program to upgrade the temporary wartime facilities to that of a permanent base.
When operations resumed in 1947 the base was a new United States Air Force asset. The primary unit assigned to the base was the new 28th Bombardment Wing flying the B-29 Superfortress.
|B-52H Stratofortress from Minot AFB lands at Ellsworth AFB in March of 2014|
In July 1949, the 28 BMW began conversion from B-29s to the huge B-36 Peacemaker. To provide air defense of the base, the United States Army established the Ellsworth AFB Defense Area in 1957 and constructed Nike-Ajax Surface-to-air missile sites for air defense.
In 1986, the base and the 28 BMW made extensive preparations to phase out the B-52 fleet and become the second home for the advanced B-1B Lancer.
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Location Parking Admission And Hours
We visited in September 2014, and highly recommended it to everyone with an interest in the United States Air Force, Ellsworth AFB, and South Dakota aviation history.
|Entrance area to the South Dakota Air and Space Museum|
It is located at 2890 Rushmore Drive, Ellsworth AFB, SD 57706, with convenient access from Interstate Highway I-90.
Admission is free, but donations are accepted. Parking is also free. It is staffed by volunteers, who do a great job of keeping the facility open and operating, restoring aircraft, and building new exhibits with only limited funding.
A charge is required for the Ellsworth AFB bus tours, which typically run from mid-May through mid-September. Security checks are required. Visit the website of the museum for details on the base and Minuteman tours.
Inside, visitors can view a variety of exhibits, dioramas, photographs, maps, memorabilia and videos about the history of the Air Force, Ellsworth AFB, and South Dakota aviation.
The indoor exhibit areas are typically closed in January and February for updating. We recommend you contact the staff prior to your trip to confirm opening days and hours.
All aircraft exhibits are located outdoors in an airpark along paved sidewalks and flat paths. On hot days, be sure to bring bottled water, and use sunscreen.
For more information, phone 385-5189, or visit the website of the museum.
South Dakota Air And Space Museum
The South Dakota Air and Space Museum is an aviation museum located inBox Elder, South Dakota, just outside the main gate of Ellsworth AFB. It is dedicated to the history of the United States Air Force, the base and aerospace in South Dakota.
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Th Strategic Missile Wing
HGM-25A Titan I Missile, 1960-1965
In October 1960, Ellsworth entered the “Space Age,” with the activation of the 850th Strategic Missile Squadron, initially assigned to the 28 BMW. For more than a year this squadron prepared for the emplacement of HGM-25A Titan Iintercontinental ballistic missiles , which finally arrived in 1962, shortly after the activation of the 44th Strategic Missile Wing in January. Headquarters SAC named the 44th SMW ‘host wing’ at Ellsworth. The Titan I Missile retired in 1965.
LGM-30 Minuteman Missile, 1962-1994
In July 1962, SAC activated the 66th Missile Squadron, the first of three such units slated to operate 150 LGM-30B Minuteman I ICBMs under the 44th Strategic Missile Wing . The 67th Missile Squadron joined the 44th in August, followed by the 68th Missile Squadron in September 1962. The older Titan I’s were inactivated in March 1965.
On 1 June 1971, SAC inactivated the 821st Strategic Aerospace Division and by October of that year, an upgraded LGM-30F Minuteman II also replaced the Minuteman I missiles.
Ellsworth soon became known as one of “The Showplaces of SAC” along with Minot AFB and Grand Forks AFB in North Dakota as it continued to fight the Cold War by maintaining two legs of America’s strategic triad: strategic bombardment and ICBMs. It carried out these missions for more than 15 years with relatively little change. The 1980s brought many new challenges.
South Dakota Air & Space Museum
The South Dakota Air and Space Museum is located just outside the gate of Ellsworth Air Force Base and is a major national repository of historic Air Force airplanes. It is free and open to the public.
|Part of the extensive indoor exhibit areas at the South Dakota Air & Space Museum|
The facility features a series of indoor exhibits and displays, and an outdoor airpark of restored, historic aircraft and related equipment.
It is also the starting point for bus tours of Ellsworth AFB.
It is one of nearly twenty official field units of the Museum of the United States Air Force located at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio.
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Ellsworth Air Force Base
|A Rockwell B-1B Lancer taking off from Ellsworth AFB|
|Ellsworth AFBShown in United States|
|IATA: RCA, ICAO: KRCA, FAA LID: RCA, WMO: 726625|
|Elevation||998.5 metres AMSL|
The host unit at Ellsworth is the 28th Bomb Wing . Assigned to the Global Strike Command‘s Eighth Air Force, the 28 BW is one of the Air Force’s two B-1B Lancer wings, along with the 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess AFB, Texas). In 2017, the 28th Bomb Wing was commanded by Colonel John Edwards its command chief master sergeant was Chief Master Sergeant Adam Vizi.
Ellsworth has a population of about 8,000 military members, family members and civilian employees. Rapid City itself has a population of just more than 62,500. There are about 3,800 military retirees in western South Dakota.
For decades, Ellsworth’s main entrance included a symbolic B-52 Stratofortress, a gift from the citizens of Rapid City. This entrance has recently been replaced.
An expansion of a bomber training area encompassing the Northern Plains known as the Powder River Training Complex began in 2008.
Major Commands To Which Assigned
A complete list of Minuteman missile launch control facilities and missile silos can be found here.
The Titan-I sites still exist, in various states of abandonment. Site “A” is still fenced, with all the missile silos capped and in place. Most of the concrete roads remain, along with what remains of the launch control blockhouse and several axillary buildings. Site “B” is in similar condition, abandoned with prairie grass in a very remote location. Site “C” also has the three missile silos capped, but much of the concrete has been removed and appears to be part of a grazing rangeland, the outlines of the missile site still very visible in aerial imagery.
Most Minuteman Launch Control Facilities appear to be still in federal government ownership, as after fifteen or more years of inactivation, all are standing but abandoned the buildings still standing within the locked security fence. Some are used by farmers seemingly. The missile launch sites are all in private ownership, most being used for agricultural use, the remainder abandoned and returning to a natural state.
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