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United States Air Force
1000 Ellsworth Street
Ellsworth AFB, SD 57706
Rapid City's cost of living is reasonably low compared to the national average. Major industries include agriculture, tourism, defense, health care, and financial services. As of March 8, 2019, the current price of utilities is 7.1% lower than the national average, housing is 3.0% higher than the national average and food is 6.8% higher than the national average. Recently, Forbes Magazine named Rapid City #20 in the Best Small Places for Business and Careers and Outdoor Life Magazine named it #4 Best Towns for Sportsmen.
Documents to Handcarry
Copies of orders, phone numbers of family, friends, your sponsor, duplicates of luggage/car/other important keys, home inventory of household goods (plus pictures or videos and receipts), medical and dental records, cash and small valuables.
Passports and Visas
Ensure member and/or dependents have the required passports and/or visa prior to final out-processing. Member and/or dependents are not allowed to final out-process without the required passports/visas in hand for themselves (if applicable) and/or dependents. Members electing the accompanied tour will not be permitted to out-process without having the required passports/visas in hand for themselves (if applicable) and/or dependents. These actions are necessary to prevent unforeseen hardships for the military members and their families, and assure Members have appropriate passports/visas for themselves (if applicable) and/or dependents.
Peculiarities Pertaining to the Area
We have a diverse climate so pack for all seasons. The Black Hills profoundly effects our weather. We boast a lot of sunshine and have a very mild climate for a northern state. Yet, we've experienced temperatures ranging from -1 degree (with the wind at 40 to 60 miles per hour, giving us a wind chill factor of approximately -59 degrees below freezing) to a balmy 73 degrees in December! Be prepared (anything is possible) for climate extremes regardless of the calendar season. During the tourist season (April through September), you may notice an increase in gasoline prices, and even food. The same holds true for hotel/motel prices, which can be very high, especially during the Rally. From August through September, the entire Rapid City area sees a multitude of visitors. They come for the Central States Fair and for the world famous Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Both of these events draw large crowds which can fill our local motels and hotels. All personnel PCSing into the area during this peak tourist season need to ensure Lodging (TLF) or hotel/motel reservations are confirmed. If you have any questions, contact your sponsor or the Ellsworth Airman and Family Readiness Center.
In Case of Emergency
If you encounter problems while en route to Ellsworth AFB that may cause you to arrive later than your reporting date, contact your sponsor. You may also contact the nearest military base Airman and Family Readiness Center or the nearest Red Cross office. In time of a financial emergency in transit, the Air Force Aid Society may be able to assist you. Contact the nearest military installation or Red Cross office.
Ellsworth has a diverse climate so pack for all seasons. In 2014, Rapid City was named #1 with the Most Unpredictable Weather. The temperature might be 30 degrees in January - or just as easily -12 degrees. It is snowy, windy, and prone to big, unexpected snow storms. Thunderstorms occur 25 percent of days from July through September, more than the national average. So BE PREPARED!
During the tourist season (April through September), you'll begin to notice increases in gasoline, as well as hotel/motels. From August through September, the entire Rapid City area sees a multitude of visitors. They come for the Central States Fair and for the world famous Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Both of these events draw large crowds which can fill our local motels and hotels, and raise rates substantially . All personnel PCSing into the area during this peak tourist season need to ensure Lodging (TLF) or hotel/motel reservations, and cost are confirmed.
Defense Service Network (DSN) Dialing Instructions
The DSN is the provider of long-distance communications service for the Department of Defense (DoD). Every installation has a special DSN number and the numbers vary by world-wide location. In order to place a call using DSN, the caller must be using a military phone on an installation. Cell phones cannot dial DSN numbers. When dialing a DSN number from a United States installation to another United States installation, it is unnecessary to dial the DSN 312 area code. When dialing a DSN number to/from overseas locations, the DSN area code of 312 must be included. Please note that long distance/cell phone charges may be incurred.
The 28th Bomb Wing is assigned to 8th Air Force under Air Force Global Strike Command. The 28th Bomb Wing guarantees combat power for America. Every world class Airman sets the standard for sustaining our people, generating our aircraft, maintaining our equipment, defending our base, and operating our network - with an unwavering focus on expeditionary combat power. The 28th Bomb Wing is home to one of only two B-1B bases in the world. In 2012, the base began flying MQ-9 Reaper missions.
Ellsworth was initially opened as the Rapid City Army Air Base in September 1942, and was a training base for the B-17 "Flying Fortress." In June 1953, the base was renamed Ellsworth Air Force Base in honor of Brig. Gen. Richard E. Ellsworth, commander of the 28th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, who was killed in March 1953, when his RB-36 crashed in Newfoundland. President Dwight D. Eisenhower dedicated the base in honor of General Ellsworth. For more on Ellsworth's history, visit the installation's homepage.
Ellsworth's two sister cities are Box Elder, whose population is close to 9,800, and Rapid City, whose population is over 75,000 as of September 2020.
According to the Bomb Wing Mission briefing, Ellsworth AFB serves approximately 3,200 military members, over 1000 civilians, and more than 6,000family members/retiree's.
Ellsworth AFB is located just outside of Box Elder, South Dakota. Rapid City is the nearest city (10 miles away). The military is the largest employer West river, and the second largest employer in the State. There is no state income tax and housing can be somewhat expensive/difficult to obtain, although there is a housing boom in progress, as the Box Elder area is rapidly growing.
Directions if Driving
Ellsworth is located 10 miles east of Rapid City on Interstate 90. There are two exits that service Ellsworth -- Exit 63 and Exit 67B. New arrivals should use Exit 67B.
Directions from Airport
Travel on route 44 west to Interstate bypass (enter with a left turn). Exit right onto Interstate 90 east. Travel east on Interstate 90 until you reach either Exit 63 or 67B.
On-installation transportation is available via taxi service Monday through Friday from 0700-1600. This transportation is available for official use only. If you have any questions, please contact the 28th Logistics Readiness Squadron at 605-385-2910.
605-385-1000 or DSN 312-675-1000.