Joe Foss Field is named for Brig. Gen. Joseph J. Foss, a World War II ace, former Governor of South Dakota and founder of state's Air National Guard. Joe Foss had successful careers in the military, political and business environments. Engaging in almost daily combat with the enemy from 9 October to 19 November 1942, Capt. Foss personally shot down 23 Japanese planes at Guadalcanal. He shot down a total of 26 enemy planes in 63 days to equal the World War I record of fellow Medal of Honor recipient Eddie Rickenbacker. His remarkable flying skill, inspiring leadership, and indomitable fighting spirit were distinctive factors in the defense of strategic American positions on Guadalcanal. In 1954, Foss was overwhelmingly elected Governor of South Dakota and two years later was elected to a second term. After that, he was elected the first commissioner of the American Football League and served until 1966.
Joe Foss Field Air National Guard Station was originally the Sioux Falls Army Air Base constructed during World War II and closed permanently in the mid-1960s. The base was a logistical supply center and its grid of streets now make up a distinct industrial area in northwest Sioux Falls.
The Air National Guard Base portion of the airport is located south and west of the commercial and general aviation areas, north of Russell Street, and has all the standard facilities of any small USAF installation except for family housing. The 114th's F-16C and F-16D aircraft are a frequent sight over the Sioux Falls area, conducting training flights and routine operations.