Saturday, July 14, 2012

AIR AND SPACE MUSEUM AND ELLSWORTH AFB

Wednesday, July 11 – After visiting the Badlands and Wall Drug, we headed towards home, but first a stop at Ellsworth Air Force Base. Home of the B-1 Bomber, Ellsworth AFB is a big military base, making it one of the largest cities in South Dakota. There is a free South Dakota Air and Space Museum right next to the Base. It is a wonderful museum inside and out.

B-1 Bomber
South Dakota Air and Space Museum

Our friend, Red, was a radio operator on the B-29. We hope he enjoys the following photos.

B-29 info

B-29

Back of B-29

Excuse the shadow of the fingers…please.DSC08665

B-25J

B-52D info

B-52D

There was an indoor part of the Museum also.

indoor museum

A guided tour of the base is available. We chose to take the tour.

After checking through security (only a driver's license is required), we were loaded on a mini bus and driven through the base. The driver gives a running description of the buildings and areas of the base.

Ellsworth bus

We did see several B-1 Bombers taking-off. WOW....what a sight! Not sure about this, but a fellow told us that these planes fly all the way to Afghanistan on bombing missions. Now that's a pretty amazing flight!

B-1 in flight

We were a little disappointed that we were not able to see the air strip. Security measures, we believe. It is a very long runway and was a back-up landing strip for the Shuttle.

Ellsworth AFB was also the training facility for the Minuteman II Missile program during the Cold War. This area of South Dakota was filled with missile silos because of its ideal location to launch missiles over the North Pole to the USSR. All these missile silos have been destroyed in accordance to missile reduction treaties with the former Soviet Union.

Minuteman II info

Minuteman II

We toured a Silo that was used for training and has remained active for public tours. There are many similarities to the Titan Missile silo we toured in Tucson, AZ. We think the Titan tour was handled a little better, but it was interesting to see them both a make a comparison.

Silo
Silo

rocket

rocket

With temperatures hovering near 100 degrees, we called it a day and headed back to the Elks Campground in Rapid City. There sure are a list of things to see and do in this part of South Dakota.

Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see y'all back real soon. Have a great day!

11 comments:

  1. What an incredible place to visit and tour. I especially enjoyed the awesome pics of the bomber planes. Thanks for he tour.

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  2. We enjoyed our tour of Ellsworth Air Force Base. Dave really liked seeing it all because he was in the air force (SAC Command and Control) during the time of the Minuteman Missiles in the late 60s and early 70s.

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  3. Once again, great story telling. Thanks

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  4. Had no idea some military bases offer tours! For some reason, I'm fascinated by them. Got to tour one near Little Rock because a friend worked on the base. What an interesting museum and tour!

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  5. great blog...lots of history there...excellent pictures and awesome museum and tour...

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  6. How neat! I love these types of museums. We usually try to hit most air museums we come across. They are so fascinating to me.

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  7. Thanks for a great tour of Ellsworth. It's kind of strange looking back at those days now. It was pretty scary back then though knowing that all those missiles on both sides could end our lives in a flash.

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  8. We really like aviation tours, thanks for the tip

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  9. Some pretty designs alright. Doing the painting yourselves is more fun but a good place for ideas for more design is this site of wahooart.com, that I use to help with my wall decorations.
    You can browse for a painting like this The tree, by 20th century Czech artist, Frantisek Kupka, for example, http://EN.WahooArt.com/A55A04/w.nsf/OPRA/BRUE-8LHUQV , that can be ordered on line and delivered to you.

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  10. just a little info about this meusem, it was built under SSGT John L Pascarella. He was the curator at the time. He was responsible for getting MOST of these aircraft and the restoration on most of them to include the B29. I was there with him as a kid as he is my father. the b29 was one of his greatest acomplishments along with the B1 and the B52 which used to overlook the lake by the main gate.

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