Ellsworth’s Workhorses

The B-1s of the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth AFB, S.D., completed 1,100 combat missions and 14,000 combat flight hours between July 2009 and July 2010 while supporting operations in Southwest Asia, according to the wing’s commander. Rapid City’s Fox TV new station KEVN-TV reports that Col. Jeffrey Talliaferro, 28th BW boss, said this high rate of utilization has “burned some of the capital out of the fleet,” but that the addition of 260 maintainers at Ellsworth over the past two years is helping to keep the aging bombers flying. B-1s—those from Ellsworth and from the 7th BW at Dyess AFB, Tex.—have been a constant, rotational presence in Southwest Asia since 2005. They have been workhorses in supporting US and coalition troops on the ground with kinetic strikes, flyovers to scare off insurgents, and overhead protective eyes via the sophisticated cameras on their targeting pods.