Form: NCP Check
Date: Thu, 16 Feb 2006 20:55:26 +0000 (GMT)
From: daniel wilson <daniejon2000@yahoo.co.uk>
Subject: Significance of Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota
To: NCP, Francis Ridge <nicap@insightbb.com>


Ellsworth AFB is located about 12 miles from Rapid City, and in 1947, the base hosted the 28th Bombardment Wing (BMW), flying the B-29.
 
In July 1949, the 28th began conversion to the gigantic B-36 bomber. 
 
<>Ellsworth was one of the original five Air Force Operational Storage Sites for nuclear weapons, and first received its atomic bombs in 1952. 

 
Reference:
Taking Stock
Worldwide Nuclear Deployments 1998
 
 
SOUTH DAKOTA  no longer hosts nuclear weapons, with the deactivation of the Minuteman II ICBM Wing at Ellsworth AFB and the 1996-97 conversion of the 28th Bomber Wing to conventional only B-1B missions. Prior to the removal of the last 170 B61-7 and B83 gravity bombs last year, the State ranked 14th in number of nuclear warheads deployed, a slight decline from 12th place in 1992. The last Nuclear Staff Assistance Visit at Ellsworth was held in April 1993. Ellsworth AFB is located about 12 miles from Rapid City, and is home to the 28th Bomber Wing of the 8th Air Force, Air Combat Command. On January 2, 1942 the War Department established Rapid City Army Air Base as a training location for B-17 Flying Fortress crews. From September 1942 to July 1945 instructors taught thousands of pilots, navigators, radio operators, and gunners. In 1947, the base hosted the 28th Bombardment Wing (BMW), flying the B-29. In July 1949, the 28th began conversion to the gigantic B-36 bomber and in 1957 it received its first B-52. Ellsworth was one of the original five Air Force Operational Storage Sites for nuclear weapons, and first received its atomic bombs in 1952. The base also hosted a nine-missile Titan I ICBM squadron from mid-1962 to early 1965. This was followed by deployment of 150 Minuteman I ICBMs dispersed over 18,000 square miles of South Dakota starting in 1963. On December 5, 1964 two airman were dispatched to an Ellsworth Minuteman I launch facility to repair one of the missile’s systems. In the midst of their work a retrorocket below the Reentry Vehicle (RV) fired causing the RV to fall 75 feet to the bottom of the silo. This is one of the 32 “Broken Arrows” or serious nuclear weapon accidents acknowledged by the Pentagon.

From 1971 to 1973 Minuteman Is were replaced by Minuteman IIs. In October 1991 the Minuteman IIs were deactivated, and a lengthy process of removing warheads, pulling missiles out of the silos, and blowing up the silos, took place. The W56 warheads were removed starting in late 1992, and missiles were removed from their silos starting in 1993 (the last was removed by April 7, 1994.) On September 13th 1996, the 149th and last silo was blown up at Ellsworth, well ahead of schedule. The 150th silo, and an associated underground launch control center were nominated as National Historic Landmarks.

A Defense Special Weapons Agency (DSWA) funded and Air Combat Command sponsored forceon- force exercise, called “Mighty Guardian 94” was held at Ellsworth AFB in May 1994.