Military News

Monday, March 30, 2015

582nd Helicopter Group activated, makes history

by Airman 1st Class Malcolm Mayfield
90th Missile Wing Public Affairs

3/27/2015 - F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. -- The first helicopter group in the Air Force officially activated during the Assumption of Command Ceremony of the 582nd Helicopter Group March 27, 2015, on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming.

Col. Dave Smith, 582nd HG commander, received the guidon from Maj. Gen. Jack Weinstein, Task Force 214 and 20th Air Force commander. The group will take over operations of the 37th, 40th and 54th Helicopter Squadrons along with forming the 582nd Operations Support Squadron.

The 582nd HG is standing up under 20th AF to improve mission effectiveness and standardization at all three missile wings at Malmstrom AFB, Montana; Minot AFB, North Dakota; and F.E. Warren, which also fall under Air Force Global Strike Command.

"Global strike command and particularly the helicopter and security forces mission within 20th AF and Task Force 214 are very unique to the Air Force in that our day-to-day operations," said Lt. Col. James Blanchard, 582nd OSS commander. "While we are conducting operations, we need to be constantly focused and vigilant on what our operational mission is every day. We could be called at any time."

The helicopter group is a product of the AFGSC Force Improvement Philosophy initiative. FIP is a grass-roots program which allows Airmen to take ownership of their mission through recommendations send to their leadership to improve mission effectiveness and morale.

"I think it's a good change. One of the major reasons for this change was to put helicopter leadership over the helicopter operators," Blanchard said.
Prior to the formation of the helicopter group; the 90th, 91st and 341st Operation Groups managed the helicopter squadrons at their respective wings.

"The group itself provides a standardization [across the three helicopter squadrons]." Blanchard said. "It's difficult when you have organizations that are in three different locations and having no organization that really provided the standardizing between the three units."

With these changes, the plan is to improve mission effectiveness and standardization at all missile wings, however, being the first helicopter group they will have to start from scratch.

"Starting a brand new aviation's group when there was never one before will be a challenge," said Chief Master Sgt. Brian Sato, 582nd group superintendent. "But we have a bright future."

The helicopter group will unify the helicopter squadrons under 20th AF and increase the effectiveness of each squadron with a multitude of new additions, one addition being the 582nd OSS.

The newly-formed operations support squadron is tailored for the three helicopter squadrons.

"The OSS can focus on providing the support, training, tactical development and current operations functions [of the helicopter squadrons]," Blanchard said. "This allows the operators to focus on the mission and not all of the additional duties they had to do before."

Each squadron will receive a 582nd OSS detachment to providing standardized support throughout the helicopter squadrons.

"We are giving missileers the opportunity to focus on their mission," Sato said. "We're also providing a better product by [reaching our] full potential."

Smith said the new group will be defined by three essential qualities: discipline, stewardship and collaboration.

"Discipline... The discipline I'm referring to is the discipline to commit to the warrior ethos." Smith said. "Stewardship... We are not crewmembers temporarily assigned to the ICBM mission, we are nuclear security experts and we will accomplish our mission more effectively and more efficiently while reducing risk. Collaboration... Additionally, we must continue to break out of our stove pipes and integrate with our security forces teammates that we support."

The 582nd HG has made history and created a multitude of avenues for Airmen in aviation to develop and grow, along with adding to the list of FIP initiatives brought to fruition and is working toward accomplishing the ICBM mission more effectively, efficiently and safely.

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