Black Hills Knowledge Netowork

Wednesday, 04 April 2018 14:12

Ellsworth Airmen Depart to Combat Terrorism

Two B-1 bombers from Ellsworth Air Force Base recently departed to Qatar, reports KOTA News. The B-1 bombers will support missions that are currently battling against terrorist organizations. B-1 bombers have not assisted in combat since 2016, when the fleet was pulled for substantial upgrades. Prior to 2016, the bombers had been in continuous combat since 2001.

While over half of the B-1 bomber fleet has been upgraded, the final upgrades are not expected to be completed until 2019. The upgrades come at a cost of $127 million and include the installation of an integrated battle station.

To read more about Ellsworth Air Force Base, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

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On March 27, 2011, over 1,100 maintenance personnel launched four B-1 bombers out of Ellsworth during a blizzard to assist in Operation Odyssey Dawn in Libya. The bombers’ launch marked the first occurrence the aircraft was ever launched from a continental U.S. location to support combat operations.

While just two B-1 bombers and their crews would continue strikes in Libya, the mission mandated extensive communication as well as assistance personnel working around the clock. Aviators in the 34th and 37th Bomb Squadrons had been briefed on the operation before they prepared the strike mission which would occur over 6,000 miles away from Ellsworth Air Force Base. Less than a day later, 125 munitions were built—enough to equip seven B-1s.

The B-1 Bombers arrived in Libya 12 hours following take-off. The mission that followed would be the deepest strike made during Operation Odyssey Dawn, with the aircraft occupying hostile airspace for over an hour. During the two-day strike, the bombers hit over 100 targets.

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The Air Force instituted a career skills program for eligible Airmen, reports the Rapid City Journal.  With this program, eligible Airmen can start training for their civilian career six months before separation or retirement.  Opportunities available include apprenticeships, on-the-job training, employment skills training and internships.  This training will be at little or no cost to the Airmen and will be able to be completed in lieu of military duties for those eligible.

You can learn more about Ellsworth Air Force Base by looking at the Black Hills Knowledge Network's online news archive or issue hub.  

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Nearly two years after the Air Force opened the Powder River Training Complex over the Northern Plains and strengthened Ellsworth Air Force Base's strategic importance, ranchers in the areas where the trainings occur have been impressed with the progress made in handling complaints on low flying aircraft. According to the Rapid City Journal, there is also an advisory council that was created when the complex expansion was approved to address these concerns and has also kept in touch with them to ensure that any issues are brought to the Air Force's attention quickly.

To read up on past and current news articles related to Ellsworth Air Force Base, click on this Black Hills Knowledge Network online news archive site.

For more information on the base itself, check out this Black Hills Knowledge Network Community Profiles page.

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The Golden Coyote training exercise will take place over the next two weeks in the Black Hills reports the Rapid City Journal.  Thirteen states, two territories, and one national territory will come to the area to partake in the event.  The South Dakota National Guard began the training exercises in 1984 with cooperation from the National Forest Service and Custer State Park

Initial processing will take place at Ellsworth Air Force Base and then troops will be dispersed to West Camp Rapid, Custer State Park, and the Northern Hills for the 14 days of exercises.  Training tactics will include convoy travel, first-aid, firearm use and more.  Participants are able to gain on the job experience thanks to these efforts.

To learn more about the Golden Coyote, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network online news archive.  You can learn more about work and economy in the area by visiting the Black Hills Knowledge Network community profile.  

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The Department of Defense is asserting that they have too much infrastructure, reports KOTA News. Across all branches, the department reported an excess of 20 percent in infrastructure and 35 percent for the Air Force.  These numbers are part of the reason the Trump Administration is proposing a Base Realignment and Closing (BRAC) commission to discuss base closures.

The last commission was 12 years ago, in 2005.  Ellsworth Air Force Base has been preparing for this possibility.  They have halted encroachment on flight safety areas, expanded the Powder River Training Complex, and had the addition of the Reaper combat missions.  Ellsworth is also hoping to be a contender for the next generation bomber  that will be in service around 2020.  According to the last BRAC commission, western South Dakota would stand to lose more than 6,500 jobs if the base closed.

For more information on Ellsworth Air Force Base, please visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network's online news archive

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President Trump's federal budget request calls for an increase of $54 billion in defense and veteran's affairs spending. According to the Rapid City Journal, Ellsworth Air Force Base could be a beneficiary of the increase and help to solidify the viability of the base in any future Base Closure and Realignment commission hearings. While Ellsworth has diversified its mission since the last round of hearings in 2005, it has also become a national financial services call center for retired Air Force personnel, further enhancing its importance in the U.S. military complex.

To read up on past and current news articles on Ellsworth AFB, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network online news archive.

For more information on the base itself, check out this Black Hills Knowledge Network Community Profiles page.

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Personnel from Ellsworth Air Force Base are participating in a mentorship program with elementary school students from General Beadle and Robbinsdale Elementary Schools, as noted in a release from Rapid City Area Schools. Participating Ellsworth personnel spend the lunch hour and recess with students in second through fifth grades who are struggling with reading and math.

The Airmen Mentoring Program is currently in its second year.  Airmen are meant to serve as role models for the students as well as helping students learn the importance of education.

To read more news about the Rapid City Area Schools, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive

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Tuesday, 27 September 2016 22:19

Six Lanes A Possibility for Interstate 90

On Monday, the South Dakota Transportation Commission decided to move forward with negotiations regarding several miles of service road toward Box Elder, reports the Rapid City Journal. This move may indicate plans to expand Interstate 90 from the current four lands to six. Such a plan would require approval from the City of Box Elder, Pennington County, and the Department of Transportation.

If the plan is approved, Box Elder would design and expand Mall Drive east toward the Flying J truck stop. Additionally, most of the service road running parallel to I-90 from Ellsworth Air Force Base to Rapid City would be demolished. A small stretch along Exit 63 would be preserved to allow access to a new section of Mall Drive.  

To read more about transportation infrastructure in western South Dakota, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive

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The South Dakota Ellsworth Development Authority has been steadily working over the years since the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) hearings in 2005 to keep Ellsworth Air Force Base off of any future closure lists. The Rapid City Journal reports that the group has been doing this by helping to keep base facilities updated and trying to buy plots of land near the accident potential zone to keep civilian homes out of potential danger. These steps were identified as potential problems that the base faced during the last round of BRAC hearings in 2005.

To read up on past news articles related to Ellsworth AFB, click on this archives link.

For more information on the air base itself, check out this Black Hills Knowledge Network resource page.

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The Ellsworth Task Force, a local committee set up to help protect Ellsworth Air Force Base from closure, could possibly see its funding cut as Mayor Allender continues looking at the city budget for 2017. According to the Rapid City Journal article, Mayor Allender believes that the South Dakota Ellsworth Development Authority, which has roughly the same mission as the Ellsworth Task Force, has done substantially more to help keep the base off of future closure proceedings by making sure Ellsworth's sustainability is kept up. The future of the Ellsworth Task Force is uncertain should the annual $75,000 from the city be cut from the budget.

To read up on past news articles related to Ellsworth Air Force Base, be sure to click on this archives link.

For more information on the air base itself, check out this Black Hills Knowledge Network resource page.

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President Dwight D. Eisenhower visited the Black Hills in early June 1953, although the precise dates have been difficult to pin down. There is a newspaper article dated June 11 reporting a Rapid City parade and Eisenhower's dedication and renaming of Ellsworth Air Force Base on June 13

A collection of undated photos in the South Dakota State Archives document his arrival, the parade and a speech at Mount Rushmore. According to this account from Custer State Park Resort, Eisenhower's stayed at the Custer State Park Game Lodge for three days. He was the second president to stay there, following Calvin Coolidge who spent the summer in 1927.

According to the Custer State Park Resort website: "In 1953, the park was again home to a President. President Eisenhower, on a visit to the Black Hills for a speaking engagement, stayed in the State Game Lodge. The visit lasted only three days, but as an indication of how times had changed, it occasioned even greater preparations for the lodge with tighter security, an extensive communications system, and a far bigger crowd of secret service agents, staff members, and reporters. 

"Activities at the lodge that week included several formal dinners and speeches, but Eisenhower also took the opportunity to spend as much time as he could fishing for trout in the pools of French Creek."

A room at the lodge is now named for Eisenhower, as is one for Coolidge.

At his dedication of Ellsworth Air Force Base, Eisenhower honored Brig. Gen. Richard Ellsworth, who had died during a mission three months prior. 

He said: "We are met here in tribute to a gallant and patriotic American, a man whose name will always be an inspiration to the members of his family and his loved ones, his friends, to the members of his garrison, to all the Armed Services, and to Americans everywhere. It is now my very great honor to dedicate this great base in memory of Brigadier General Richard Ellsworth."

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As World War II engulfed Europe and Asia in 1941, the United States readied its defenses by establishing new military bases in the interior of the country. 

Rapid City Air Force Base became home to the 88th Bombardment Group and the 17th Bombardment Training Wing in October of 1942. At the base, crews were trained to fly B-17 Flying Fortress airplanes.

Between 1942 and 1945, approximately 8,500 military pilots, radio operators, gunners and navigators rotated through the new facility.

As the tide of the war turned in 1944, the mission of Rapid City Air Force Base changed to train pilots to fly the new B-29 bomber on long range runs over Japan.

After World War II ended in August 1945, the base's mission shifted to peacetime training. It was temporarily deactivated until March 1947 when it became home to the 28th Bombardment Wing flying the B-29 Superfortress.

On June 13, 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower came to Rapid City to rename and dedicate the base as Ellsworth Air Force Base. The renaming honored Brig. Gen. Richard Ellsworth, who commanded the 28th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing. Ellsworth had died along with 23 crew members earlier that year in a plane crash near Newfoundland, Canada. 

As the world moved into the Cold War, so, too, did Ellsworth AFB. The base became home to B-52 Stratofortress planes, to a Strategic Air Command mission and to intercontinental ballistic missiles under the 44th Missile Wing.

In 1986, Ellsworth AFB converted to the B-1B Lancer Bomber, which it continues to operate under the 28th Bomb Wing. In addition, Ellsworth AFB is now home to the MQ-9 drone ground control station and the U.S. Air Force Financial Services Center.

Read a more detailed history of Ellsworth AFB on the Black Hills Knowledge Network.

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After 11 years of continuous deployments, the personnel of the B-1s of Ellsworth will be getting some well earned rest as well as retraining on their new systems. According the Rapid City Journal article, the B-1s themselves will also be undergoing $1 billion in system upgrades that will keep them battlefield relevant for another 10-15 years until the next generation of Air Force bombers come online.

Click on this archives link for past news articles related to Ellsworth Air Force Base.

For more information on the base itself, check out this Knowledge Network resource page.

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The 28th Munitions Squadron at Ellsworth Air Force Base performs a crucial support role to the B-1 bomber aircraft and pilots that have been called a key piece of the nation's military efforts against terrorists in the Middle East, reports KOTA-TV

The 240 squadron members conduct detailed inspections of equipment, produce practice bombs and complete other duties. The squadron's work is the foundation of training done by the B-1 crews when not deployed on a mission. 

In 2015, Ellsworth’s 28th Bomb Wing crews dropped more than 7,000 bombs on terrorist targets in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. That would not have been possible without the work of the 28th Munitions Squardron. 

Read more about Veterans and Military Affairs on the Black Hills Knowledge Network

 

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Wednesday, 27 January 2016 00:00

EAFB Airmen Return From Deployment

About 350 U.S. Air Force airmen returned home from a six-month deployment in the Middle East, reports KOTA-TV and Ellsworth Air Force Base

Hundreds of family members greeted the airmen as their plane landed after six months of B-1 bomber combat operations in what the military refers to as "the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility." 

B-1 bombers from EAFB have been credited as a key part of the U.S. military's ongoing war efforts in the Middle East. 

Read more about Ellsworth Air Force Base on the Black Hills Knowledge Network

 

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The B-1 bombers housed at Ellsworth Air Force Base are called the "backbone" of the U.S. military's air fleet and a "mainstay" in the ongoing wars in the Middle East, reports the Washington Post

Headlined "The underappreciated workhorse of America’s air wars," the article quotes members of the military who have worked with the B-1, including pilots who call the aircraft "the Bone" and themselves "Bone drivers." Those sources praise the B-1's capabilities, from its endurance to its large payload, while the report notes the B-1 has been underappreciated by prominent critics, including U.S. Sen. John McCain

The B-1 has provided close air support since kicking off the Iraq war in 2003 with the shock and awe campaign in Baghdad that ultimately failed to kill Saddam Hussein to the current fight against the Islamic State in Syria in Iraq, during which the B-1 is credited with driving the terrorist group's fighters out of Kobane, Syria, and Tikrit, Iraq. 

Read more about Ellsworth Aire Force Base on the Black Hills Knowledge Network

 

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Wednesday, 25 November 2015 00:00

B1's Drop 5,000 Bombs In Terror War

B-1 bombers from Ellsworth Air Force Base have dropped more than 5,000 bombs in the military campaign against the terror group in Syria and Iraq known as the Islamic State, reports the Rapid City Journal

The bombers have been part of an escalated campaign that began sometime in October, the EAFB commander said during a public presentation on Nov. 20. Bombers from Ellsworth have been deployed to combat the Islamic State throughout 2015. 

The commander said that Ellsworth's two bomb squadron's have been rotating six-month deployments with a third squadron from a Texas base, meaning about 500 of Ellsworth's 4,000 employees have been deployed at any given point during 12 out of 18 months.

Read more about Ellsworth Air Force Base on the Black Hills Knowledge Network

 

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The opening of a community center on Ellsworth Air Force Base means that airmen and their families will have a space to gather and celebrate. According to Rapid City Journal article, the community center will be the focal point for the multi-million construction project of 214 homes. The community center and the increase in housing meets the needs of the growing base as well as helps provide a safe and secure environment for the families of the airmen and airwomen.

Click here for more articles about Ellsworth Air Force Base.

Clikc here for Black Hills Knowledge Network resource page on Ellsworth Air Force Base.

For access to more information about Ellsworth, click here.

 

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Ellsworth AFB is preparing to send its first B-1 bombers to the recently expanded Powder River Complex for training missions. According to the Rapid City Journal article, the newly expanded area, nearly four times its original size, will result in better training for bomber crews and a cost savings of nearly $23 million for the base thanks in part to not needing to send the bombers off to distant training areas anymore.

Click on this archives link to view past news articles on Ellsworth Air Force Base.

For more information on Ellsworth AFB, its history, and its present mission, check out this Knowledge Network resource page.

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