A historic day for Ellsworth: ground is broken on first B-21 facility

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. — Nearly 20 years ago, Ellsworth Air Force Base was facing closure. Now it’s set to be the new home of the B-21 Raider, and ground was broken Wednesday on the first facility that will house the innovative aircraft.

The commander of the Air Force Global Strike Command, General Anthony Cotton, was present at the ceremony and shared his excitement for this historic step.

Img 3117The 95,000 square-foot Low Observable Restoration Facility will be a two-bay hangar building used for maintenance and training.

It’s the first of more than thirty projects planned to support the B-21 mission at Ellsworth, and a major strategic step for U.S. military might.

“It is important that we have deterrence; it’s important that we have platforms like the B-21 that can project American force across the globe at a moment’s notice,” says Rep. Dusty Johnson. “It is so important that we have this tool to help make sure that the arc of history is bent towards freedom.”

And while the military builds inside Ellsworth, the City of Box Elder is building to make sure they’ve got the space for incoming personnel. Mayor Larry Larson says they’ve got multiple projects in the works – from infrastructure to housing – to support the bomber mission.

“I’m looking ahead for what do we do when the actual military personnel get here? We’ve got to do some other things,” Larson says. “We’re working on some housing that might be able to be held for just military personnel. We’re hoping that maybe something like that can happen – it has to happen.”

Air Force leaders say it’s a start, and that B-21-related projects will begin to ramp up.

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