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Cost of One B-21 Could Buy $300K Houses for Every New Ellsworth Flyer

The Rapid City housing market is failing to support the troops:

One of the biggest employers in Rapid City is Ellsworth Air Force Base, bringing thousands of people into the area, but for many Airmen moving to Rapid City there is no place to call home.

Military Community Relations Director for South Dakota Ellsworth Development Authority, Lynn Kendall says, “some people are living in campers their having to pay nightly fees at hotels because there is just not housing for them to purchase or rent.”

Living out of hotels is not cheap, Kendall adds “what we are finding here locally is that the cost of living exceeds what they are given for that monthly allowance. So, there is a lot of expenses that they are paying for outside of their pocket” [Scarlett Lisjak, “Housing Shortage Puts Strain on Incoming Airmen,” KOTA-TV, 2021.07.22].

The whole point of keeping Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota is to goose the economy and our killer instincts. But if the housing market can’t respond quickly enough to meet the basic needs of our flyboys and flygirls, it’s time for government to correct that unpatriotic market failure.

One of those B-21 bombers—you know, the new war machines of which our pro-life leaders are so proud—costs $500 million to build and $40 million a year to maintain. Pre-decommission just one of those bombers and spend the money on building base housing, and you could build a $300,000 house on base for every one of the new 1,664 B-21 airmen and provide each one with an ongoing $24,000 housing allowance for cleaning supplies, mowing, and home repairs. Plus, with such dedicated and well-appointed base housing, our brave sky warriors wouldn’t lose valuable training and response time hunting around Rapid for housing, dealing with landlords, and commuting. The happier, healthier, homier spirits our bomber personnel will enjoy from not living out of suitcases at Super 8 will surely translate into higher performance that would easily outweigh the tactical disadvantage of reducing the eventual total B-21 fleet by less than 1%.


  1. jerry 2021-07-24 11:48

    When will Rapid City run a devoted pipeline to the Missouri River to sustain itself while ignoring the mining interests that threaten Rapid Creek?….asking for a friend.

  2. bud7997 2021-07-24 12:53

    Jerry tell your friend when the pipeline will carry oil instead of water they will get right on it. There’s no money in drinking water

  3. Mark Anderson 2021-07-24 23:12

    Well you know without Ellsworth, Rapid City wouldn’t be worth wasting a nuclear missile on from either the Russkies or China. It makes South Dakota worth something.

  4. Erica 2021-07-25 23:46

    Ellsworth knows exactly when/where soldiers are moving to/from the area as they too receive the orders. Why isn’t the BASE building more quarters to house their soldiers instead of waiting for the local market to provide more housing for them? How much housing is available on base and why haven’t they stayed ahead of demand by watching orders closer to know what demand would be ahead of time rather than waiting until the problem was out of control?

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