An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Falcon Heritage Contests More Than Just Games for the Raiders at Ellsworth

  • Published
  • By 28 Bomb Wing Public Affairs
  • 28th Bomb Wing

When the U.S. Air Force Academy’s Fighting Falcons football team don the 2023 Air Power Legacy Series alternate uniforms in honor of the Doolittle Raiders to square off against opponents, it has extra meaning to the base and many serving here. 

Ellsworth AFB is home to three of the four squadrons that participated in the historic Doolittle Raid – the 34th Bomb Squadron Thunderbirds, 37th Bomb Squadron Tigers and 89th Attack Squadron Marauders. The base has numerous Air Force Academy graduates, including the current commanders of the 34th and 37th BS.

Lt. Col. Ross Hobbs, 34th BS commander, said it’s an honor to be at the helm of a unit with such a rich past.

He was quick to note that the base was also selected to provide the flyover for the Falcons game Nov. 18 against the University of Nevada Las Vegas – a training mission he will be leading.

“Any time we get a chance to participate in supporting the Air Force Academy, it’s always great,” said Hobbs. “We’re going to do our best to make some extra noise and remind them how awesome the B-1B is.”

According to another alumnus, Lt. Col. Christopher McConnell, 37th BS commander, the heritage being showcased is tremendous.

“It’s an amazing opportunity to highlight the history of the Doolittle Raiders and everything they accomplished,” said McConnell. “It’s a huge honor to see both our Tiger patch, the T-Bird patch, as well as the 37th and 34th squadron numbers.”

For one Ellsworth Airman who played for the Falcons, the USAFA game versus UNLV game holds special meaning.

“My entire life, the one thing I wanted to do at any level was catch a touchdown,” said Lt. Col. Carsten Stahr, 28th Force Support Squadron commander and former tight end for the Falcons, playing from 2002 through 2005. “My first and only touchdown came against the Rebels.”

Stahr stated that when the Falcons take the field every contribution matters.

“Everyone is a role player, everyone supports one another, everything is about the ‘Bolt Brotherhood,’’ Stahr said. “To be successful at [this style of offense] you have to be inherently smart, disciplined and tenacious, just full of grit.”

He added that military academies only recruit people with these characteristics, “… which is exactly what you want to see in future military officers. You want those officers to be focused and know how to execute their assignments at full speed.”

“Football is not the end-all, it’s the foundation that the rest of life is built upon,” he added. “I’m honored to have been a Fighting Falcon.”