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Ellsworth (1911–1953), the 28th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing commander who was killed when his RB-36 Peacemaker aircraft crashed near Nut Cove, Newfoundland, during a training flight. War Department established Rapid City Army Air Base as a training location for B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bomber units.
During World War II, Ellsworth flew 400 missions in the China Burma India Theater. Construction proceeded rapidly on the base, with the Control tower opening on ; runways, quarters, offices, and facilities completed , and five hangars being completed in late 1942.
It plans and executes training missions essential to attain versatile power projection and global reach, and provides the aviation infrastructure necessary to conduct safe flight operations for the 34th and 37th Bomb Squadrons.
The 28th Operations Group has three squadrons under its command to assist in accomplishing its mission—the 28th Operations Support Squadron, the 34th Bomb Squadron and the 37th Bomb Squadron.
The installation changed names a few more times during its early years.
As of 2017, the 28th Bomb Wing is commanded by Colonel John Edwards Ellsworth AFB is 10 miles east of Rapid City, S. The relationship between Ellsworth and Rapid City was exemplified by Ellsworth's main entrance, a gift from the citizens of Rapid City, constructed to symbolize a B-52 Stratofortress, one of the aircraft formerly flown by the 28th Bomb Wing. The mission of the 28th Bomb Wing is to deliver combat power for global military response.Additionally, the group directs the implementation of plans supporting pre-planned and contingency mobility taskings in support of national objectives.Provides mission essential “city” services at home and combat support services while deployed.On 15 July 1945, the 225th AAFBU was inactivated and Rapid City AAB was placed on standby status as the Army Air Forces began to demobilize.
Rapid City AAB was reactivated on 11 October 1945 and was assigned to Continental Air Force.
The airfield had three concrete runways, 7050x300(N/S), 7000x300(E/W), 7872x300(NW/SE).