Home sweet home for the next few weeks. Ellsworth AFB…Guardian of the North.
Mark joined the USAF in 1979 planning on a 4 year term and hoping to get a career that would take him to any coast after being raised in the Midwest. He also dreamed of receiving training that he could use in the Civilian sector when his 4 years were over. His plan was aircraft maintenance …Uncle Sam had other plans…Missle Maintenance!
He was stationed for his entire career at Whiteman AFB, MO. smack dab in the middle of the country no where near any coast until he retired in 1995.
Lots of great things happened at Whiteman AFB. We were blessed with both of our children, made friends for life and actually ” grew up” there.
One of the many great benefits we still are privileged to have after serving our country is to take advantage of staying at Military Fam Camps. They are always nice. We can take advantage of all the amenities on base such as, Commisary etc.. So here we are at Ellsworth AFB a former Minuteman Missle base, now the home of the B1 Bomber.
The first night here we got in around dinner time. We decided to get a bite of dinner at the “Chow Hall” as we were starved. Walking in and seeing all the young Airmen was surreal. How did we get so old AND these are “babies” who VOLUNTEER to serve our great nation and protect our freedom we often take for granted. My heart hurt for their Moms. I put myself in that position and cannot even imagine how hard it is for them.
When Mark enlisted way back when we were not fighting a war. Unemployment was high and jobs were tough to come by in Illinois. He joined to get a paycheck and learn a skill. The military kept training for the possibility of using force and things were status quo for most of his career …..that was until 1990 and Desert Storm. Things changed!
Today , jobs are still scarce , but kids today join knowing we are fighting a war. WOW such bravery and selflessness is so humbling. I pray daily for their protection and when you meet them while having a simple meal puts it in a new perspective. They are so young and doing so much for each and everyone of us as U.S. Citizens. Please take the time to thank them along with our Veterans when ever you get the chance.
Ellsworth AFB is just outside of Rapid City, S.D. Which is surrounded by great things to see. Traveling in the Mobile Condo gives us a bird’s eye view through the 4’x8′ windshield, but nothing compares to taking in the majesty of the scenery here than on our Harley.
Next stop Mt Rushmore!
WHOA!!! What a place. It’s a place that needs to be seen to truly appreciate. To think it took only 14 years to do (they say if weather wasn’t a factor they could have done it between 6-8 years) 90% of it was done using dynamite the other 10% was completed by men hanging in a swing like apparatus using drills!
The workers were all young guys that were Miners previously hence they used the same skills. The men were not impressed that they were working on what would become a National Monument, they just considered it a job! Below is a picture of what they were paid for whatever job they did
The monument was not completed as it was originally designed. Below is the model they were using to create the monument.
They stopped work on the monument in October 1941 as World War II was requiring the financial resources that were being used to complete the work. So it remains “unfinished” and still breath taking. So glad we stopped by.
Next stop Crazy Horse!