Looking back at 2013

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Anania Tekurio
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Reflecting upon on the past year, Ellsworth Airmen accomplished numerous operational feats, hosted several distinguished visitors and embarked in new mission essential projects, all while enduring financial strains felt throughout the Department of Defense.

This past year, Airmen from the 28th Bomb Wing and Ellsworth have been on the front lines, across the globe, providing combat power, and their performance has been outstanding, according to Col. Kevin Kennedy, 28th BW commander, in a message to the entire base.

He added that he - along with every leader - is thankful for the courage, willingness to serve and sacrifice that all servicemembers and their families have made in order to secure our nation's freedom and blessings of liberty.

The year began with 350 Airmen deploying to Southwest Asia to support missions in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, taking the baton from Ellsworth Airmen already deployed to the area who would return soon after.

"Ellsworth Airmen deploy to Southwest Asia"

"Deployed Ellsworth Airmen return home"

Always focused on saving critical dollars and working smarter not harder, the base worked cooperatively with the South Dakota Air and Space Museum to complete a project to cut energy costs.

"Project ushers SDASM into energy efficiency future"

In March, Ellsworth Airmen taught members of their B-1 family from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas a procedure that rapidly refuels an aircraft as maintenance crews perform safety checks - while the aircrew stays in the cockpit with engines running.

"Dyess maintainers learn new refueling procedure"

In April, a new pair of hands took the helm of the 28th BW.

"New wing commander takes reigns at Ellsworth"

Later that month, the base would pay tribute to a former wing commander who was killed in a tragic crash in Virginia.

"Ellsworth honors former 28th BW commander"

Sequestration and civilian furloughs dominated the news at Ellsworth and across the nation.

"28th BW commander provides civilians update on furlough plan May 16"

Ellsworth opened the doors to the new Raider Café, the culmination of 18 months of planning and construction.

"Ellsworth opens new dining facility June 6"

Ellsworth partnered with the South Dakota National Guard, South Dakota Ellsworth Development Authority and a handful of other agencies to plan and construct an urban close air support site near Belle Fourche, S.D.

"Ellsworth teams up with area agencies to build UCAS"

Tragedy hit the base in August when a B-1 bomber crashed near Broadus, Mont. Thankfully, all four crew members survived the crash. An Accident Investigation Board report would later reveal that an overwing fairing ruptured a fuel line which resulted in the explosion that caused the crash.

"Aircrew members of Ellsworth B-1 Crash Identified"

"B-1B accident report released"

Always striving to strengthen ties with the community, the base selected five area leaders to participate in the 28th BW Honorary Commanders program.

"Ellsworth names 2013 Honorary Commander program selectees"

In October, aviators from the 37th Bomb Squadron conducted training missions over the Nevada skies as part of Green Flag.

"37th Bomb Squadron departs for Green Flag"

Ellsworth began working with local leaders as part of a new community partnership initiative designed to better utilize resources and reduce operating and service costs.

"Ellsworth looking to the future in community partnership"

Later that month, the base would conduct a Native American Veterans outreach event and host a visit by the Chief of Staff of the Air Force.

"Ellsworth hosts event to thank Native American veterans"

"Ellsworth hosts top AF leaders"

Honoring its rich heritage, Ellsworth aviators participated in the final Doolittle Reunion.

"Ellsworth Airmen part of Doolittle Raiders final toast"

Capping off the year, Airmen from the 28th Operations Group would take part in a special mission to provide a merry Christmas for children in the area.

"Airmen give back to children in the local community"