Ellsworth AFB change of command looks for smooth transition with B-21 arrival

In his return to the Black Hills, new Ellsworth Air Force Base Colonel Joseph Sheffield, looks for a transition that will enable a solid implementation of the B-21 Raider.

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. — A change in leadership and familiar face returning to Ellsworth Air Force Base.

Colonel Joseph Sheffield returning to the base after a stint as commander of the Andersen Air Force Base in Guam.

Sheffield previously served with the 34th and 37th Bomb Squadrons in Box Elder from 2012 to 2016, now taking command from Colonel David Doss.

Doss, now set to become Chief of Staff at Air Force Global Strike Command in Barksdale, Louisiana.

Change Of Command 5

His airmen won over 200 awards under his command — including the LeMay Award – for the best bomber crew in the Air Force. Some awards even won during the pandemic.

“None of the accomplishments that you heard in that citation and many many more that were not mentioned weren’t due to me,” Doss said at the Change of Command Ceremony Friday. “They’re all due to you. They’re yours, not mine.”

Colonel Sheffield, who has experience working with the B-1, now taking the helm as the arrival of the B-21 Raider looms.

“I was kinda born and raised on the B-1 here on Ellsworth and then had the chance to command it at a squadron level, so one I know the operations and then equally or more important I know the community, so it’s an exciting time to be part of it and it’s nice to come to a place that I’m familiar with and the people that I’ve worked with before,” Sheffield said.

He arrives with challenges on the horizon as the base transitions to the first home of the B-21. He hopes it’s a smooth one.

New infrastructure and roughly 3,000 new personnel coming on to the base with their families, a total increase of about 7,700 people. All as Colonel Sheffield and his staff look to keep to the mission.

“We are looking towards the future, we’re beginning to make sure we have the table set, the place ready so when the B-21 is ready to come on line, we can integrate it and begin executing and operating it and providing our national defense, so although there are some challenges, it’s a huge benefit and opportunity,” Sheffield said.

Not to mention the challenges of a completely new weapons system coming to Ellsworth, looking to serve a special mission for the nation’s Air Force.

“We also need to make we’re ready for the mission for its capability and to ensure that we can respond on a moments notice as it begins to arrive and the B-1 in the future begins to fade out,” Sheffield said.

Changing leaders as Ellsworth prepares for its new bomber.

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