How time flies: 70 years of Ellsworth history

  • Published
  • By Airman Ashley J. Woolridge
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Ellsworth has come a long way over the past 70 years - from the training days of Rapid City Army Air Base during World War II to ongoing missions over Afghanistan right now.

Since 1942, Airmen have come and gone, the base has hosted many different aircraft and missions have evolved, but the core values of Airmen have never wavered.

U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz spoke about the rich history of Ellsworth during the 70th Anniversary celebration dinner, adding the caliber of its Airmen is continually demonstrated through the feats they accomplish on a daily basis.

Here are some highlights of our 70th Anniversary historical features from the past year:

"Reflecting on Ellsworth's past"

Art Juhlin, retired 100th Bomb Group B-17 Flying Fortress lead navigator, recounts his time spent training at the former Rapid City Army Air Base, S.D., which prepared him to fly strategic daylight bombing missions over Europe in 1943.

"A tradition of excellence carried forward - the Doolittle raiders"

Lt. Col. John Martin, 34th Bomb Squadron commander, and Lt. Col. Brian Mead, 37th BS commander, explain Ellsworth's connection to the legacy of the Doolittle Raid on Japan, April 18, 1942.

"A base and its dog"

A forlorn-looking dog wanders onto Rapid City Army Air Base, S.D., and quickly wins the hearts of the Airmen stationed there - earning him the name "Bismarck," and the position of base mascot.

"Honoring a true hero"

A portrait of the base's namesake, Brig. Gen. Richard E. Ellsworth - killed in an RB-36 Peacemaker crash, March 18, 1953 - captured through the memories of his family and other Airmen.

"Silent sentinels: 44th Missile Wing"

A celebration of Ellsworth's 44th Missile Wing and its long and lonely 32 year vigil on the front lines of nuclear deterrence during the Cold War.

"Remembering the Rapid City 1972 flood"

Nearly 500 Ellsworth Airmen partner with the local community to save lives and perform recovery operations after heavy rains cause a natural disaster, June 9, 1972.

"Coming of age: B-1 proves itself during Operation Allied Force"

Five B-1 bombers depart the base to team up with North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces to strike military targets in Kosovo during operation Allied Force.

"Lessons learned, Operation Odyssey Dawn"

Ellsworth B-1s execute a global strike mission from the continental United States for the first time in history, March 27, 2011, in support of Operation Odyssey Dawn in Libya.

"70 years ago: Remembering WWII holidays at RCAAB"

Holiday events from 1942 to 1944 at Rapid City Army Air Base, S.D., show Airmen and their families kept morale high in the midst of adversity.