WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Senators Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) and John Thune (R-S.D.) have introduced a resolution commemorating the 70th anniversary of Ellsworth Air Force Base. The resolution, which recognizes the history of the base, passed the Senate unanimously.
“The impact of Ellsworth Air Force Base goes beyond the borders of our state. The entire nation owes a debt of gratitude to all those at the base who have helped keep our country safe during conflicts across the globe. As we mark this important milestone this week, this resolution nationally recognizes the contributions that Ellsworth Air Force Base has made to the security of the nation for the last seventy years,” said Johnson.
“Over the last 70 years the men and women who have called Ellsworth Air Force Base home have served with distinction and honor. South Dakota is proud of the contributions that Ellsworth has made around the world keeping this country safe. It is an honor to recognize this achievement and the tradition of excellence at Ellsworth Air Force Base,” said Thune.
The text of the resolution is included below:
Whereas on January 2, 1942, the War Department established Rapid City Army Air Base in South Dakota as a training location for B–17 Flying Fortress crews;
Whereas thousands of pilots, navigators, radio operators, and gunners were trained at Rapid City Army Air Base and went on to support the allied efforts in World War II;
Whereas on June 13, 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower visited the base and dedicated it in memory of Brigadier General Richard E. Ellsworth;
Whereas during the Cold War, Ellsworth Air Force Base maintained 2 legs of the strategic triad, strategic bombardment, and intercontinental ballistic missiles, earning the title “The Showplace of Strategic Air Command”;
Whereas 2012 marks the 25th year of the B–1B Lancer mission at Ellsworth Air Force Base;
Whereas in 1999, B–1Bs from Ellsworth Air Force Base flew over 100 combat missions in support of NATO forces in Operation Allied Force in Kosovo;
Whereas Ellsworth Air Force Base has played a crucial role in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn, and Operation Enduring Freedom, deploying over 10,000 personnel and flying over 6,000 combat sorties in those operations;
Whereas the first ever B–1B global strike mission launched from the United States came from Ellsworth Air Force Base on March 30, 2011, striking targets in Libya before refueling, rearming, and hitting additional targets in Libya on the return;
Whereas, for 70 years, Ellsworth Air Force Base has served as an integral part of the defense strategy of the United States and served as the proud home to thousands of bomber pilots, navigators, radio operators, gunners, missile launch control facility personnel, and aircraft and missile maintenance personnel;
Whereas, the personnel from Ellsworth Air Force Base have a history of compiling some of the highest marks in competitive readiness and maintenance exercises and competitions;
Whereas, for the past 65 years, Ellsworth Air Force Base has—
(1) been home to the 28th Bomb Wing and some of the most impressive aircraft in the United States, including the B–17 Flying Fortress, the B–29 Superfortress, the RB–36 Peacemaker, the B–52 Stratofortress, the KC–135 Stratotanker, KC–97 Stratofreighter and the B–1B Lancer; and
(2) for parts of 4 decades, served as an important cog in the missile defense system of the United States, featuring the Titan and Minuteman missile systems;
Whereas Ellsworth Air Force Base continues to evolve and is preparing to welcome the MQ–9 Reaper mission later in 2012; and
Whereas, Ellsworth Air Force Base and the communities of Rapid City and Box Elder, South Dakota have and will continue to enjoy a long standing, mutually beneficial relationship: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Senate—
(1) recognizes the contributions of Ellsworth Air Force Base to the security of the United States;
(2) commemorates 70 years of excellence and service by Ellsworth Air Force Base to the United States; and
(3) encourages the people of the United States to recognize and honor the dedicated and exemplary service of the airmen and their families, past and present, stationed at Ellsworth Air Force Base.