Ellsworth “bomber dog” commemorated in new plush from the SD Air & Space Foundation

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. — You’ve heard of Beethoven and Toto, but there’s another famous “man’s best friend” that you probably haven’t heard of, and now he’s getting his own toy.

Bismarck, the “bomber dog” and unofficial mascot of Ellsworth Air Force Base was a homeless pup who showed up on the base in 1942. The shaggy black-and-white dog enjoyed free-reign of the base and was so smart he knew when and how to catch the bus into town and back – often riding alongside the airmen.

“He was a member of the B-17 crews – their mascot – and he would ride into town with the airmen when they would go into town,” says Kevin Ott, vice president of the South Dakota Air & Space Foundation “He was a very smart dog; he knew when the bus was leaving to come back to the base.”

A fixture in the local community, local establishments even had bowls set out with his name on it…with him reportedly even enjoying beer!

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Prototypes of the Bismarck plush

Ott says the plush is a special way to honor an unusual part of Ellsworth’s history.

“As Ellsworth’s getting ready to celebrate it’s 80th anniversary this year, along with the 80th anniversary of the Doolittle Raid, the 75th anniversary of the Air Force, and the 35th anniversary of the B-1 bomber, we wanted to come up with something here at the Air and Space Museum to honor a really unique piece of Ellsworth’s heritage,” Ott says. “And there’s probably nothing more unique than Bismarck!”

The commercial gate at Ellsworth now bears his name, a reminder of the unique legacy he left behind.

Anyone wanting to order their own Bismarck plush can do so by sending a check to:

South Dakota Air and Space Foundation

PO Box 871

Box Elder, S.D. 57719

ATTN: Bismarck on Guard

A 6-inch Bismarck plush is $34.95 (or $29.95/each if you order 10 or more). A 12-inch plush is $49.95 (or$44.95/each if you order 10 or more).

Currently, the Bismarck plush toys are only available via mail. Ott says the Air and Space Foundation is hoping to have quantities available for purchase at the Air and Space Museum in time for the 2022 Ellsworth Air and Space Show in May.

Categories: Air & Space Show, ConnectCenter1-Military, Local News, South Dakota News