MINOT AIR FORCE BASE About 300 airmen and several B-52s from Minot Air Force Base will temporarily operate out of Ellsworth AFB at Rapid City, S.D., while the Minot base's runway is closed for reconstruction.
The Minot AFB runway is scheduled to fully close on April 1 as the final phase, the runway's center section, of the reconstruction project begins. The reconstruction is part of a three-phased project that began in 2012.
The Minot AFB airmen will travel with the B-52's of the 23rd Bomb Squadron for maintenance and operation of the aircrafts.
A B-52 gets ready to leave Minot Air Force Base in this October 2013 photo. At the time reconstruction of the east end of the runway was being completed. The third phase of the runway project will be done this year.
"The runway reconstruction here at Minot AFB is a much-needed project, which will help ensure the B-52's mission capability for years to come," said Col. Alex Mezynski, 5th Bomb Wing commander. "We are excited for this opportunity to extensively train our B-52 aircrews and maintainers with the superb airmen at Ellsworth AFB who operate and maintain the B-1."
"To perform the required maintenance on their runway, Minot needed to move their B-52 fleet," said Col. Kevin Kennedy, commander of the 28th Bomb Wing. "Operating out of Ellsworth makes good sense in that it was the most affordable option, and we have a proven ability to host B-52 operations."
Another approximately 300 airmen from the Minot base with a number of B-52s from the base's 69th Bomb Squadron left the base for a deployment to Andersen AFB in Guam.
The Minot AFB runway is scheduled to be completed in early October.