582d Helicopter Squad Activated

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Cheyenne, Wyo. (KGWN) The mission remains the same, how the 20th Air Force helicopter squadrons defend and protect our missile launch facilities is a little different.

On Friday, the 37th, 40th and 54th helicopter squadrons, along with a newly formed operations support squadron were formally brought under the command of the 582nd Helicopter Group.

Colonel David Smith assumed command of the group, which will be stationed in Cheyenne.

He expressed his appreciation for the group of aviators he'll be commanding as he assumed his new position.

"The mainteneers, the QAEs Op specialists, life support and of course the crews, your devotion and devotion to duties skill never ceases to amaze. Serving with you is an endless motivation," said Colonel Smith.

Major General Jack Weinstein, commander of the 20th Air Force says the formation of this group is long overdue.

"Activating the 582d group is absolutely essential to continuing the President's direction of a safe secure and effective nuclear force."

The operations squad is under the command of Lieutenant Colonel James Blanchard, who will have detachment operations in Malstrom Montana and Minot North Dakota.

"Our job is to support every need they have that includes training testing evaluations standardization and really all the things that happened behind the scenes to make this mission run," said Lt Col Blanchard

Lieutenant Colonel Chris Brady from the 54th squadron in Minor says his team's work is improved with the creation of the 582nd.

"I can put more of my emphasis on accomplishing the mission and the day to day operations of the squadron and less time worrying about what new training syllabus is out," said Lt Col Brady

Looking ahead, Major General Weinstein says the 582nd will increase efficiency and safety, but also serve as a better training ground for future aviators.

"From a force development perspective our ICBM aviators now know they can aspire to be a full colonel or commander in our mission," said Major Weinstein.

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