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.
Our friend, Red, was a radio operator on the B-29. We hope he enjoys the following photos.
There was an indoor part of the Museum also.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!