ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. — What’s in a name?
For the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth Air Force Base, the name is everything.
“The 28th Bomb Wing gets an opportunity to recognize the men and women of the 28th Bomb Wing – the Raiders – as we’re known – deriving our namesake from the daring and innovative General James Doolittle,” says Maj. Robert Rauch, Asst. Director of Operations, 34th Bomb Squadron.
That name honored Friday as the Raiders received the James H. “Jimmy” Doolittle Award for bravery, determination, and discipline. The award recognizing units that showed superior management while executing missions in difficult and dangerous conflicts.
With that in mind, the Wing chose to celebrate Raider Heritage Day Friday for a reason.
“This is really in recognition of the 20th anniversary of 9/11 – celebrating today having been the day that we actually dropped bombs in combat following the attack on the U.S.,” Maj. Rauch says.
Air Force Historical Foundation Board of Directors President Jonna Doolittle-Hoppes made an appearance to say how proud of the Raiders she is. And if that name sounds familiar – it should – she’s the granddaughter of Mr. Doolittle himself.
“I think his [James Doolittle’s] biggest thing is that this particular award – the Doolittle Award from the Air Force Historical Foundation – is for a unit,” Doolittle-Hoppes says. “And for him, to celebrate the Wing itself – the entire Wing – rather than an individual – would mean a great deal.”
A B-1, flanked by munitions trailers and first responder units, was on display to mark the occasion. Inside the Pride Hangar, displays featured newspaper clippings from the Doolittle Raid and 9/11 – in addition to memorials for the fallen and letters from airmen working during and after the September 11 attacks.
A day honoring the proud and hardworking group of Ellsworth Raiders – who are carrying on the legacy of their namesake.