Log in

Log in
  • Home
  • What We Do
  • News
  • Eye in the Sky: Helicopter squadron secures missile fields from above

Eye in the Sky: Helicopter squadron secures missile fields from above

February 29, 2024 13:28 | Anonymous

Submitted Photo U.S. Air Force Capt. Matthew Weaver, 54th Helicopter Squadron (HS) aircraft commander, left, and Senior Airman Daniel Barker, 54th HS special missions aviator instructor, pose at Minot Air Force Base on Dec. 20, 2023. Photo by U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Kyle Wilson.

By Airman 1st Class Kyle Wilson, 5th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE – Minot Air Force Base hosts several tenant units that are critical to the success of its mission. These units all play a role in Minot Air Force Base’s daily operations and provide unique capabilities to the skill set. The 54th Helicopter Squadron (HS) is one of these units.

The 54th HS is a geographically separated unit from the 582nd Helicopter Group, headquartered at F.E. Warren AFB, Wyoming. Since 1993, the 54th HS has been assigned to Minot AFB where it provides helicopter response capabilities in support of 91st Missile Wing operations.

The support the 54th HS provides to the 91st Missile Wing (MW) includes contributing rapid security response capabilities to Minot’s missile fields, providing overwatch security during convoy operations, as well as executing search and rescue and medical evacuation operations.

“The primary mission of the 54th HS is nuclear deterrence and nuclear surety,” said Capt. Matthew Weaver, 54th Helicopter Squadron aircraft commander. “We’re heavily involved with the 91st MW and supporting their mission.”

“We provide a skill set and dynamic support that only helicopters can provide,”

 – Senior Airman Daniel Barker 54th HSspecial missions aviator instructor.

The 54th also integrates with Security Forces units on the ground to provide comprehensive security throughout Minot missile fields, which cover approximately 8,500 square miles of North Dakota. This includes Tactical Response Force, Convoy Response Force and in-field Security Forces teams.

“The TRF, CRF and in-field Security Forces teams all have Forward Observers out in the missile fields that communicate directly with us,” said Barker.

“The assets that we control here are extremely important to defend,” said Weaver. “If anyone was to try to gain access to those, we’re going to respond as quickly as possible.”

The 54th HS currently employs the UH-1N Iroquois as its primary aircraft in daily operations. The UH-1N Iroquois, however, is slated to be replaced in the coming years by the MH-139 Gray Wolf.

“The UH-1N is a very reliable aircraft and it’s worked well for our mission set,” said Barker. “In the next few years, we’re switching to the MH-139, which is going to enhance our capabilities into the far future.”

Reprinted with permission from The Minot Daily News

Copyright © 2021 North Dakota Aviation Association

North Dakota Aviation Association

PO Box 627
Bismarck, ND 58502

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software