Charles Michael Ray

Starting Tuesday, officials say locals should expect an increase in air traffic from the Ellsworth Air Force Base for the next three days.
The exercise is designed to train pilots while simulating realistic scenarios.
The Powder River Training Complex covers about 30-thousand square miles and stretches through part of the Dakotas, and into Montana and Wyoming.

Ellsworth Could Face Cuts In 2015

Feb 26, 2015

Ellsworth Air Force Base Commander Colonel Kevin Kennedy says tough budget decisions may be ahead this year.  
Kennedy gave his “State of Ellsworth Address” on Thursday morning.  
Ellsworth narrowly escaped closure in 2005 during the last round of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission or BRAC.   

Bombers Vs Ranchers On The High Plains

Apr 1, 2014
Airman 1st Class Hrair H. Palyan / U.S. Air Force

A low flying B1-Bomber makes a whole bunch of noise.   This is one reason a number of landowners in Meade County are angry over a proposed expansion of training space for military aircraft stationed at Ellsworth Air Force Base.

The Department of Defense wants to increase the airspace it uses to train its B1 Bombers and other aircraft.  Ellsworth Officials say the move improves the military's effort to be ready for combat.

But some local residents say the loud airplanes hurt property values, scare livestock, and start fires.

B-52's Back Over the Black Hills

Mar 25, 2014
U.S. Air Force /Senior Airman Jesse Lopez

If you are old enough to remember the cold war you likely know what a B-52 Bomber looks like.    For years B-52’s were stationed at Ellsworth Air Force Base in Rapid City.   The giant bombers were as frequent over the Black Hills as the newer B1’s are today.

B-52’s are returning to the Black Hills next month.

The Bombers Are Back

Jul 18, 2013

B1 Bombers are again taking to the skies over the Black Hills after the budget sequester grounded most training flights.

Air force officials say a move by congress made peacetime dollars available for training operations.

But military officials add that the funding picture is still unclear for the next fiscal year which begins in October.

Ellsworth Air Force Base announced it will furlough 566 civilian employees. The employees are asked to take leave for eleven non-consecutive days. Officials say this is a result of the Sequestration and cuts in the federal budget.

Colonel Kevin Kennedy is the Commander of the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth. He says this furlough will affect individuals that work in operations, medical, support, and maintenance on the base. He says although eighty-five percent of the work force is not affected, productivity will inevitably slow down.

Dakota Political Junkies

Apr 17, 2013

Jonathan Ellis, reporter and columnist with the Sioux Falls Argus Leader; and Roger Whittle, managing editor of the Watertown Public Opinion, discussed Mike Rounds' fundraising efforts for his U.S. Senate run, possible Republican and Democratic challengers, the grounding of B-1 bombers at Ellsworth Air Force Base because of the sequestration and the 20th anniversary of the death of Governor George Mickelson.

Sequestration Grounds B-1 Training Flights

Apr 12, 2013

B-1 Bombers won’t be taking to the skies on training missions over the summer.

The bombers stationed at Ellsworth Air Force Base are grounded  due to sequestration cuts.  

As tensions escalate in North Korea, base officials say the grounding reduces their ability to respond quickly to a call of action.

SDPB’s Charles Michael Ray has this story.

Goal To Improve Military Voting Turnout

Jan 16, 2013

The Secretary of State tells lawmakers he is looking to improve the voting process for military personnel in South Dakota. Jason Gant says South Dakota received a grant of half a million dollars last year to help improve voter turnout for service members in the state.

“Our hopes and goals are that 2013 we put together some initiatives and plans and then go out there and visit with the folks at Ellsworth and our military service men and women here in the states and determining how we can help make sure their votes get cast and get counted," says Gant.

Noem Vows To Work For Vets And Bombers

Dec 13, 2012
U.S. Representative Kristi Noem

Representative Kristi Noem is taking aim at the Department of Veterans Affairs over the plans to close part of a health facility in Hot Springs.