Air Force Wings

Ellsworth Air Force Base

28th Bomb Wing
1940 EP Howe Drive, Ellsworth AFB, SD 57706

Ellsworth Air Force Base

Ellsworth Air Force Base
Ellsworth AFB was established in 1941 as Rapid City Army Air Base (AAB). On 2 January 1942, the U.S. War Department established Rapid City Army Air Base to train B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bomber units to fight the Axis in Europe. In March 1944, the 225th Army Air Force Base Unit switched from training entire units to training individual replacement personnel to send to units deployed overseas. The field’s instructors taught thousands of pilots, navigators, radio operators and gunners from nine heavy bombardment groups and numerous smaller units. 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 was founded, and originally known as “Hay Camp”, in 1876 by a group of disappointed miners enticed by The public discovery of gold in 1874 by the Black Hills Expedition, promoted their new city as the “Gateway to the Black Hills”, a nickname the city now shares with neighboring Box Elder.

Arriving at Ellsworth Air Force Base

Upon arrival, be sure to have copies of orders, phone numbers of family, friends, your sponsor, duplicates of luggage/car/other important keys, home inventory of household goods (plus pictures or videos and receipts), medical and dental records, cash and small valuables on hand.


Ensure member and/or dependents have the required passports and/or visa prior to final out-processing. Member and/or dependents are not allowed to final out-process without the required passports/visas in hand for themselves (if applicable) and/or dependents. Members electing the accompanied tour will not be permitted to out-process without having the required passports/visas in hand for themselves (if applicable) and/or dependents.


Ellsworth has a diverse climate so pack for all seasons. In 2014, Rapid City was named #1 with the Most Unpredictable Weather. The temperature might be 30 degrees in January – or just as easily -12 degrees. It is snowy, windy, and prone to big, unexpected snow storms. Thunderstorms occur 25 percent of days from July through September, more than the national average.


During the tourist season (April through September), you’ll begin to notice increases in gasoline prices. The same holds true for hotel/motel prices. From August through September, the entire Rapid City area sees a multitude of visitors. They come for the Central States Fair and for the world famous Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Both of these events draw large crowds which can fill the local motels and hotels. All personnel PCSing into the area during this peak tourist season need to ensure Lodging (TLF) or hotel/motel reservations are confirmed.

Base Population
There are around 9,000 people on active duty, family member, civilians and retirees on Ellsworth Air Force Base.