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Ellsworth hosts groundbreaking ceremony for weapons generation facility

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Brittany Kenney
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

The 28th Bomb Wing hosted a special ceremony April 29 to commemorate the beginning of construction on the base’s new Weapons Generation Facility.

The new WGF — one of more than 35 construction projects planned at Ellsworth — will support future Air Force base operations while enhancing aircraft weapons’ handling security and safety.

The more than $205 million contract for the construction of the WGF was recently awarded to BL Harbert International of Birmingham, Alabama. The start of construction is scheduled to begin in May 2024 with an estimated completion of March 2027.

Maj. Gen. John Newberry, Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center commander, officiated the base event, the fourth of seven weapons generation facilities activities planned across the Air Force.

During his remarks, he noted the project is designed to streamline support functions for Air Force Global Strike Command assets and replace facilities built in the 1960s and 1970s.

Newberry also thanked all those who attended the event and lauded the community for the tremendous support the base receives.

“There’s a great partnership with the B-1 now, and soon with the B-21, and local support from the Black Hills community to maintain strategic deterrence for our nation,” Newberry said. “It’s essential that we continue operations today but also prepare for the B-21.”

Col. Derek Oakley, 28th Bomb Wing commander, said this project is critical to the future of Ellsworth and the B-21 and is a big step in preparing for the base’s evolving mission.

“Ellsworth has two missions: our first being execution of B-1 operations around the world, and the second being the B-21 bed down,” Oakley said. “This weapons generation facility is a part of that program and part of the future of Ellsworth Air Force Base.”

He added the new facility will come with security and surety improvements stemming from a smaller storage footprint, reduced weapons handling, and updated equipment and infrastructure.

“We will return to a culture this base has not seen for decades,” Oakley said. “And what you’re going to see out of this facility is safe, secure, and reliable weapons that are going to be part of our future and how we execute.”