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,"
Prior to the formation of the helicopter group; the 90th, 91st and 341st
Operation Groups managed the helicopter squadrons at their respective
"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
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
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.