ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. --
Maj. Gen. Scott Vander Hamm, the Air Force assistant deputy chief of staff for operations and former 28th Bomb Wing commander, will retire Aug. 14 after more than 30 years of service.
Vander Hamm commanded the nation’s largest B-1 combat wing while at Ellsworth from June 2007 to June 2009. During that time, he worked diligently to advocate for long range, precision strike capability for the B-1 and also strengthened joint activity between Ellsworth and its counterparts in the South Dakota National Guard.
Vander Hamm also played a vital role in strengthening relations with area tribal nations and being good stewards of the environment as evidenced in the cleanup of 2,486 acres of the Badlands Bombing Range. Vander Hamm was key in the successful consultation agreement that helped the Air Force fulfill its commitments to the land and the members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe.
In addition to his time at the helm of the 28th Bomb Wing, other key assignments included being commander of the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, and commander of the Eighth Air Force at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana.
While commanding the Eight Air Force, Vander Hamm led the planning to move the B-1 fleet from under Air Combat Command to Air Force Global Strike Command, consolidating all bombers under the same command to improve coordination and sharing across the Air Force’s bomber wings. Prior to that, he also served as the lead pilot for the first mission of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2002, leading three B-2 bombers from Missouri on a 38-hour mission to strike targets in Baghdad.
Recently, Vander Hamm received a Diplomat Corps Award from the Rapid City Area Chamber of Commerce’s Diplomat Committee. The award, created in 1986, recognizes individuals for their contributions to the Black Hills. Vander Hamm is the 65th recipient of the award.