The Ellsworth Air Force Base is just 10 miles in the east of Rapid City. It is considered as the home to the 28th Bomb Wing, which is one of the two B-1B bases that are built in the world. This military base has the largest number of employees in the Rapid City region and is the second largest in the state of South Dakota. The 28th Bomb Wing hosted in Ellsworth AFB is being commanded by Colonel Gentry Boswell and by the Chief Master Sergeant Sonia Lee since 2015. While the controversial expansion for the bomber training area encompasses the Northern Plains and became known as the Powder River Training Complex and is being constructed since 2008.

Cost of Living: 84.7 (less than average, U.S. average is 100)

Automated Telephone Attendant Number: 605-385-4663

Base Population: 10,048

City/Area Population: 70,812 as of 2013

Child Development Center:

Ellsworth AFB Child Development Center

1314 LeMay Blvd, Ellsworth AFB, SD 57706, United States


Youth Program:

Ellsworth AFB Youth Center

1679 Ellsworth St, Ellsworth AFB, SD 57706, United States

+1 605-385-2277

Airman and Family Readiness Center:

Ellsworth AFRC

1000 Ellsworth Street, Suite 1500, Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota

+1 605-385-4663


Construction and extraction occupations (15%)

Sales and related occupations (12%)

Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations (9%)

Management occupations (8%)

Food preparation and serving related occupations (7%)

Office and administrative support occupations (6%)

Production occupations (6%)

Base Services:

Ellsworth AFB Commissary

2649 LeMay BLVD., Ellsworth AFB, SD 57706 United States


Ellsworth AFB Movie Theater

2649 LEMAY BLVD., ELLSWORTH AFB, SD 57706 United States


SD Air and Space Museum

2890 Davis Dr Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota


Medical Services:

Ellsworth AFB 28th Medical Group

2900 Doolittle Dr. Ellsworth AFB, SD 57706


Rapid City Regional Hospital

353 Fairmont Blvd, Rapid City, SD 57701, United States

+1 605-719-1000


The Ellsworth AFB located at the Box Elder, Rapid City was first established in 1941 and was formerly known as the Rapid City Army Air Base or the AAB.  This Air Force Base was named to honor Brigadier General Richard E. Ellsworth, who was killed when it crashed landed near the Nut Cove, Newfoundland during in a training fight while navigating his RB-36 Peacemaker. He is considered as one of the finest soldiers who has flown 400 missions during the World War II in the China Burma India Theater. And at the time of his death, the 28th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing is under his command responsibility.

This Air Force Base established in Rapid City on January 2, 1942, serves as the training location for the B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bomber units. The control tower was then opened in September 30, 1942 following the rapid construction of the base; with quarters, runways, facilities and offices completed by October 1942 while the five hangars were completed in late 1942.

In March of 1944, the operational training for the heavy bomber unit has ended and it was replaced by the 225th Army Air Force Base where training immediately began in order to replace the personnel for the deployment of heavy bombardment units that can be found in the overseas combat theaters. All the training that involves thousands of pilots, navigators, gunners and radio operators from the 9 heavy bombardment groups and smaller units focuses in overthrowing the Axis Power in the Europe. However, on July 15, 1945, the AAFBU was inactivated and the Rapid City, now Ellsworth AFB, was placed on standby status while the Army Air Force starts to demobilize.

Ellsworth AFB was activated once again on October 11, 1945, and was assigned under the supervision of the Continental Air Force. It became the permanent facility for the Army Air Force where the weather reconnaissance and combat squadrons were briefly trained using the P-61 Black Widow, P-51 Mustang, B-25 Mitchell and P-38 Lightning. It was temporarily shut down from September 1946 up to March 1947 to undergo a major construction program that will upgrade the temporary wartime facilities. The runway also had undergone construction where it was further extended in order to accommodate the B-29 Fortress. And along with the major overhaul done on the facilities, the construction was completed in the spring of 1948.


The Ellsworth Air Force Base host the following units: 28th Bomb Wing, which is the host unit, the 28th Operations Group, the 28th Maintenance Group, the 28th Mission Group, the 28th Medical Group and some Tenant units including the  Air Force  Financial Services Center, Area Defense Counsel, Detachment 226 AFOSI and the  Detachment 8,372 TRS. Each of this group is composed of a group of personnel who has various responsibilities in keeping the Ellsworth AFB organized. For instance, the 28th Maintenance Group is responsible in formulating the policies and implementation of procedures to ensure that the 29 B-1 aircraft, as well as the associated support equipment and munitions, are readily available. On the other hand, the 28th Mission Group is behind the mission that will provide essential “city” services to at home and combat support services while they are deployed.


Currently, the Ellsworth Air Force Base in Rapid City, South Dakota has 1,367 active Military Housing units. They come in nine types of base housing developments with quality houses, good neighbors, and are complete with playgrounds. For dorm occupants, the unaccompanied housing in the AFB base is composed of 742 rooms out of six dorms.

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