Upcoming Falcons Contest More Than Just a Game for Ellsworth Raiders

  • Published
  • By Spc3 Adam Olson
  • 28 BW/PA

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 the University of Las Vegas Rebels, Nov.18, it will have extra meaning to the base and many serving here.

Ellsworth 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 also has several U.S. Air Force Academy graduates, to include the 34th and 37th Bomb Squadron commanders.

Lt. Col. Ross Hobbs, 34th BS commander and Air Force Academy alumnus, 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 game Nov. 18 – 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 an honor and privilege.

“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.”

Additionally, the USAFA vs UNLV game holds special ties to a current Ellsworth Airman and prior academy athlete.

“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.”