Arcadia Book - Ellsworth Air Force Base
Rapid City Army Air Base was constructed in 1942 and used as a training location for B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bomber aircrews throughout the duration of World War II. After the war, the newly renamed Rapid City Air Force Base (AFB) led the nation’s strategic bombardment force, deploying B-29 Superfortresses to Britain during the Berlin Blockade and later flying the B-36 Peacemaker heavy bomber. In 1953, Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower renamed the base for Brig. Gen. Richard E. Ellsworth, who was killed during a mission over Burgoyne’s Cove, Newfoundland. From 1960 to 1994, Ellsworth AFB was a Strategic Air Command superbase containing two legs of the American Strategic Nuclear Triad—heavy bomber aircraft (B-52 Stratofortresses and B-1B Lancers) and land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (Titan and Minuteman). Today, the personnel at Ellsworth AFB continue to build upon the storied legacy of the South Dakota base, projecting American airpower around the world.