Larry & Lee Ann's Journey travel blog

A small herd of bison grazing in a campground on our way...

Cattle grazing in the rolling hills off to our left just outside...

The entrance to the Air & Space Museum...

Loved these leather bomber jackets...

And the different types of headgear worn by the pilots...

BT-13 Valiant, trainer used during WWII...

Back outside, waiting for our tour bus, lots to see...

On the base now, check out this housing, for enlisted men, pretty...

And this is some of the housing for single personnel...

A playground and fishing area too!

The reason for the base, is to support the air strip, and...

Hangers and pre flight areas abound. Note the stadium style lights, for...

B-1 bomber, coming in for a landing. A premier heavy bomber, capable...

Arriving at the Silo Training Facility...

This is how you get a Minuteman missile into it's silo, with...

We descended three flights of stairs, approx 30 feet underground...

The electronics racks in the service room. To the left of the...

A view of the missile looking down from the observation deck......

The 150 missile silos and 15 launch control facilities of the 44th...

And a lovely view for our ride home!


Today we visited the Ellsworth Air Force Base. This base also houses the South Dakota Air and Space Museum, where aviation history comes to life in interesting and educational displays. Outside the museum, on the large airpark, are aircraft static displays and exhibits. There are 25 aircraft on display, ranging from a World War Two bomber and transport aircraft to the contemporary B-1B Lancer. There are also 4 different missiles, including a Minuteman II Intercontinental Ballistic Missile. The Aviation Hall of Fame, a Missile Procedures Trainer Exhibit, a

F-106 interactive aircraft cockpit and a B-1B Cockpit and Operations Simulator round out the displays.

The Museum also has an excellent section about the early Stratobowl high-altitude balloon flights of the 1930s. This section gives a detailed history of these flights as well as some of the actual items used in the flights. As well as a very interesting area devoted to Berlin. Some very cool photos. And I do love photos!

We also learned that Ellsworth Air Force Base is home to the 28th Bomb Wing, which flies B-1B Lancers and serves as the host unit, providing all essential base operating support services for Ellsworth and combat support services for an Air Expeditionary Wing.

But, the highlight of the visit was the missile silo, the place where missiles were previously kept and launched. We were able to go underground, about 30m deep to see a missile and the equipment used to launch them to targets.

During the summer months, there is a base bus tour lasting approximately one hour for $7.00 per person. This includes touring the Minuteman missile Training Launch Facility as well as seeing a number of sites on the base. The air museum itself is free if the Missileman Training Launch facility is not on your list of 'things to see'. Our tour guide was well versed and very personable. He spoke loudly enough for all to hear, which is very important to us. Larry thinks perhaps he should have joined the Airforce instead of the Army after viewing the base housing and all of the amenities!

After our tour we headed to the Golden Corral Buffet for an early dinner. Very good today and a large selection. We've not been disappointed there yet, although this was our first visit this year. A quick trip to Sam's Club and a stop at Wal-Mart rounded out our day. It began raining just as we exited the GC. And was raining even harder while loading our purchases. Fortunately, I have learned to take a BIG umbrella. We sure seem to attract the storms here in Rapid!

We made it safely home as the rain fizzled out shortly after leaving the city. There were plenty of deer to watch for today. And a few bison on our way to town. But the main attraction this evening were the low lying clouds and pretty setting sun reflecting through them. It is beautiful here. We never tire of the beautiful scenery...



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