Local leaders say the decision to bring the new B-21 bomber and training site to Ellsworth Air Force Base illustrates the strength of the base and will have a major economic impact on the region.
"The selection of Ellsworth as the first base for the B-21 demonstrates the strategic importance of our base,” Col. John Edwards, commander of the base, said in a news release. “I am grateful for the trust Secretary Wilson and her team have placed in this base.”
"This is great news for all of us," Scott Landguth, executive director of the Ellsworth Development Authority, said.
He said the decision shows that the partnership between the development authority and base pays off for everyone.
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The economic impact will be "significant" with "hundreds and hundreds of new jobs" and hundreds of millions in construction projects, Landguth said. This is "something that we haven't seen in western South Dakota for quite some time," he added.
"This will enhance national security. This will bring jobs to the Black Hills. This will stimulate our economy tremendously for years to come," Steve Allender said in his news release.
"For more than 75 years, Ellsworth Air Force Base has been a tremendous asset, not only for national security but also for global security," he said. "During this time, our community, region, state and nation have been proud of, and have benefited greatly from Ellsworth. This decision underscores the continued importance and significance of Ellsworth, and the vital role the base and its personnel will serve for decades to come, as it has since the early 1940s."
Allender said he's "especially proud" of those who serve at Ellsworth and thanked the state's congressional delegation, Ellsworth Development Authority, the state Legislature and governor and others who made "this dream a reality."