Newcomer Information

Your Airman & Family Readiness Center would like to welcome you to Ellsworth AFB!

This page will provide you with information and resources that the Airman & Family Readiness Center can offer you. If you are looking for reporting, lodging, postal information, please take a look at the Ellsworth AFB public page for newcomers.

Relocation Assistance
Right Start Briefing
Happy Landings
School Liaison Officer
Military Spouse Residency Relief Act
Free Child Care
Pet Care
Loan Locker
Driver’s Licenses
Vehicle Registration
Vehicle Insurance
Unique Rules of the Road
Unique Ellsworth AFB Rules During Winter

Take a look at some local internet sites of cities, newspapers, schools, and more that can be of some assistance to you.

Relocation Assistance

Stop by our center to meet our staff and hear about what services we can offer you. You can pick up a copy of the base phone book, local maps and we will do our best to answer any questions you may have. You can also email us at

We can also provide you with resources to deal with those unique PCS difficulties.

Right Start Briefing

The Right Start Briefing is the Wing Commander’s welcome program that is mandatory for all military and civilian personnel. All members will be scheduled during the official inprocessing appointment.

Happy Landings

Happy Landings is a free, monthly information fair that brings both on and off base agencies to you. Held during the Right Start Briefing at Dakota’s Club, the fair is open to anyone, even if you have been on the base for years. There is no registration required! Happy Landings is held on the same day as the Right Start Briefing.

The School Liaison Officer (SLO)

The School Liaison Officer is the central point of contact for school related matters between commanders, military families and local school systems. We’re here to smooth the transition, whether it’s helping handle registrations, getting the most current information about schools, advising parents about which documents are required and other issues surrounding student placement or adjustment in a new school.

Visit the SLO web page at
or on Facebook at

Find out how the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children
can help make the change of schools an easier one for you and your child by visiting the Interstate Compact web page on the SLO web site.

Military Spouses Residency Relief Act

If you have a civilian spouse, the Military Spouses Residency Relief Act can now give them some of the same rights enjoyed by active duty service members in choosing to retain their original state of legal residence or changing it to the state in which they currently reside.

What the Law Does:

Voting rights: Military spouses will not lose the right to vote or register to vote in a state as a result of a military move. They could decide to register to vote at their new locations or keep their voting registrations in their old state, even if they don’t plan to return, as long as they keep the same residence for voting purposes as their military sponsor, said Joy Dunlap, family issues expert for the Military Officers Association of America.

Automobiles: A spouse will not have to change a driver’s license or auto registration when moving to another state, so long as they maintain their residency in the state where they are licensed.  Some military couples try to get around the auto registration issue today by keeping only the service member’s name on the registration; that will no longer be necessary.

Taxes: A spouse will neither lose nor acquire a residence for tax purposes by entering or leaving a tax jurisdiction while accompanying a service member who is moving as a result of military orders, as long as the residence is the same for husband and wife. This applies to income taxes and personal property taxes.

Property rights: Residency requirements related to land rights, such as mining claims or homesteading, may be suspended for spouses just as they are suspended under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act for military members, though state and federal notification requirements will need to be met.  If you have questions about these requirements, consult an attorney experienced in property law.


Free Child Care for PCS

Do you need some time to unpack or take care of mandatory appointments?

You can receive 20 hours of free childcare per child with a licensed day care provider. This is available to all ranks and needs to be used within 60 days of your PCS. Bring a copy of your PCS orders to the Airman & Family Readiness Center in order to get your voucher for each child and a list of day care providers. This program is based on FCC provider availability.

Pet Care

The Ellsworth Veterinarian Clinic is located at 2800 Doolittle Drive. Their phone number is (605) 385-1589.

Services Available:

• Routine exams, annual physicals, vaccinations, and health certificates
• Spaying and neutering (call for requirements)
• Heart worm testing and preventative
• Registration – Microchip registration is mandatory.
• Parasite control and health products available

ALL animals must be registered on base within 72 hours of arrival to comply with base regulations.

Recommend scheduling appointments two weeks in advance. Clinic days vary based on availability of veterinarian. Click here to visit the Veterinarian’s Facebook page.

Loan Locker

If you are still waiting for your household goods or just need a household item, visit the Loan Locker. This is a service provided by the A&FRC where you can check out (for free) items such as sleeping mats, pots & pans, dishes, folding tables, etc. The loan locker is located within the Airman & Family Readiness Center.

Driver’s Licenses

Any South Dakota resident who operates a motor vehicle or motor-driven cycle on public roadways in South Dakota is required to have a driver license. You are required to have a South Dakota driver license if you live here for more than 90 days. Members of the Armed Forces on active duty or members of foreign military on temporary duty with the Armed Forces, as well as their spouse and children can drive on a valid license from their home state, so long as they are at least 16 years old.

Get It Together!

To apply for or renew your driver license or identification card the applicant will need to provide specific documents. Click here for more information on those specific documents.

Visit the South Dakota Driver Licensing home page for more information at

View or Download the following handbooks:
South Dakota Driver License, Commercial, or Motorcycle Manuals

Vehicle Registration

• Are you a resident of another state? The South Dakota Department of Revenue & Regulation, Motor Vehicles Division ( basically states that vehicles owned by nonresidents (military personnel stationed in this state while in the military service of the United States and their dependents) are not required to register their vehicles in South Dakota provided the vehicle has valid registration in your home state or the state of military assignment at the time of registration. Source: South Dakota Codified Laws – 32-5-46 and 32-5-47.1.

• Motor vehicle titling and registration fees are done through your local county treasurers office. Click here for all applicable license fees that must be paid to the county treasurer.

• Deployments/TDY does not excuse the owner from properly registering or insuring the motor vehicle. (Ensure that you do not allow the registration or insurance to expire simply because of a deployment or TDY commitment).

Vehicle Insurance

• Ensure that you know the limitations of your auto insurance policy coverage. In some cases insurance obtained in another state may not be valid in South Dakota based on limitations specified in your policy. You must ensure you tell your insurance company that you are in South Dakota.

Unique South Dakota Rules

Read the South Dakota Motor Vehicle Laws

View or Download the following handbooks:South Dakota Driver License, Commercial, or Motorcycle Manuals

• A South Dakota state statute requires motorists in South Dakota to stop when coming from any direction and approaching any stopped authorized emergency vehicle using red visual signals/lights. The law now requires you to move over and slow down when passing any vehicle displaying amber or yellow flashing signals/lights.

What is meant by any vehicle?
This includes any vehicle that is broke down and using their amber or yellow flashers. If on the interstate system or a divided highway you must, if possible, move to the other lane. If on a two lane road you must reduce your speed by twenty miles per hour and if in a twenty five mile per hour zone you must reduce your speed to five miles per hour. This is to protect all of the motoring public.

For example, if someone is pulled over onto the shoulder with their amber or yellow lights flashing, on the interstate system or a divided highway you must pull over to the opposite lane. If on a two lane road, slow down as described.

The law is aimed at protecting vehicles stopped on the shoulder of the road from being hit by passing vehicles. Protected vehicles include law enforcement, emergency response vehicles, service vehicles (tow trucks, etc.), and motorists experiencing mechanical trouble.

Under the new law, motorists on South Dakota Interstates and other highways with two or more lanes traveling in the same direction as the stopped vehicle, must merge into the lane farthest from the stopped vehicle and proceed with caution, unless otherwise directed.

On two-lane highways, motorists must slow to a speed that is at least 20 miles per hour less than the posted speed limit or slow to 5 miles per hour when the speed limit is posted at 20 miles per hour or less and proceed with caution, unless otherwise directed.

A violation of this law is a Class 2 misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine of $200 and/or 60 days in jail.

Source: South Dakota Codified Laws 32-31-6.1

Unique Ellsworth AFB Rules During Winter

Ellsworth AFB can experience some extreme weather conditions during the winter months. During this time the base will notify the base community on the status of the roads. The following conditions are strictly enforced to protect the base, it’s personnel, families and base assets.

Road Condition Green – Normal installation speed limits and traffic rules are in effect.

Road Condition Yellow – The maximum speed limit for all motor vehicles is 10 mph below the posted speed limit. The speed limit for parking areas is 5 mph. The vehicle will be operated in such a manner that ensures complete control of the vehicle at all times. Vehicle operators are cautioned to remain a safe distance away from snow removal equipment, with the understanding that the snow removal equipment operator may be operating at an increased rate of speed and with visibility limitations.

Road Condition Red – The maximum speed limit for all motor vehicles is 10 mph on general roadways, and 5 mph in military family housing areas and parking areas. Travel is restricted to essential travel only (i.e. military personnel who have not been instructed to remain away from duty, family members traveling to and from their place of employment, etc.). Persons found to be in violation of this traffic instruction (i.e. recreational driving, non-emergency visitation, etc.) are subject to being cited in accordance with this traffic code, and to points being assessed on their driving record accordingly. Travel during Road Condition Red is at the vehicle operator’s own risk. During Road Condition Red, the vehicle operator assumes all liability for vehicle damage should the vehicle become immovable due to weather or road conditions, such as damage from passing snow removal equipment, damage from exposure to severe weather, or any other damage which may occur.


• Ensure vehicles are removed from base streets and parked in the driveway if on TDY, vacation or when snow begins to accumulate.

• Disconnect all water hoses from the outside faucets to prevent freeze-ups. If a connected hose should cause a freeze up and damage occurs, the occupants may be responsible for the repair.

• Keep all garage doors closed when not in use to prevent freeze-ups and rodent infestation.

• Replace furnace filters monthly by obtaining one from the self-help store at housing maintenance.

• Turn water off, but leave the heat on, if the house will be unoccupied for more than three days. Also, Ellsworth housing residents must contact the housing office to advise of the occupant’s absence and give the name of the person who will be watching over the residence.

Snow removal

In order to facilitate snow clearing as fast and as safely as possible, vehicles must not be parked in housing area streets during winter weather advisories and actual snowfall. Housing residents should not park their car on the streets overnight if there’s snow in the weather forecast. Parking on the streets is allowed after snow plows clear the streets.

Do not leave vehicles on the streets for extended absences or TDYs. Either put it in the driveway or use the TDY parking lot located at the corner of Schriever Street and Spaatz Drive. Vehicle owners who violate this instruction may be ticketed or have their cars towed at their own expense.

Housing occupants are required to clear snow from their sidewalks, driveways, fire hydrants and cluster mail boxes in front of their unit within 24 hours after the snowfall stops. Please help keep a clear path for children walking to the bus stops.