B-52 bombers touch down at Ellsworth Air Force Base - KOTA Territory News

B-52 bombers touch down at Ellsworth Air Force Base

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The long range B-52 bombers that once were stationed at Ellsworth Air Force Base for 30 years return to KOTA Territory for a visit.

A $67 million runway construction project at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota means Ellsworth Air Force Base will be the temporary home to 8 B-52 bombers and anywhere from 250 and 350 airmen and crew.

Colonel Todd Copeland, a commander in the Minot Air Force, says Ellsworth makes sense for the temporary deployment. "There were three drives, training for the mission, cost and quality of life," said Copeland.

Copeland says Ellsworth is a familiar place to train. "We fly in local training ranges here all the time. We do a lot of pattern work at Ellsworth instead of doing touch and goes, we just land," said Copeland.

Other than training, Copeland says moving their operations to Ellsworth saved them about 1.2 million dollars. "The cost was much more effective. Our return on the investment was much higher here at Ellsworth as opposed to somewhere else" said Copeland.

The concern about air force members being closer to family was also on the list of priorities for Minot Air Force  leaders. "We really wanted to be somewhere close where their families could get here and they could get back home if necessary, since they are going to be gone here soon in the near future," said Copeland.

The Minot B-52 bombers and support crews will be at Ellsworth until late September.

While at Ellsworth The B-52's were on Alert 24-7. The bombers left Ellsworth about two years before the cold war ended. And their mission changed dramatically.

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