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By Glenn S. Robertson
90th Missile Wing Public Affairs
Members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 20th Air Force, 90th Missile Wing, 582nd Helicopter Group and 37th Helicopter Squadron broke ground on the new combined helicopter and tactical response force facility outside the Army Aviation Support Center on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, March 31, 2023.
In a blustery morning ceremony, leaders from multiple units gave short speeches outlining the importance of the new facility to the mission of the Mighty Ninety.
The building will be joint purpose, including a helicopter hangar, a TRF facility and a helicopter maintenance facility. When complete, the facility will house the new MH-139A Grey Wolf helicopter, which will provide increased flexibility and improved performance, offering a more robust deterrent and significantly improving security capabilities, said Lt. Col. Cas Smith, director of operations for the 37th Helicopter Squadron.
Maj. Gen. Michael Lutton, 20th Air Force commander, hearkened back to the storied history of the 37 HS in Vietnam, as he also looked forward to the history they would continue to make.
“In a less than four-year period during the Vietnam War, your squadron had more than 1,000 confirmed saves where your Airmen brought people home,” said Lutton. “As we break ground here today, you all are going to make history and I am looking forward to being a part of that with you.”
Smith expounded on the theme of the squadron’s history, recognizing the intertwined missions, past, present and future, of the helicopter squadron and the missile wing.
“It isn’t lost on me that this helicopter modernization comes at a time when the 90th Missile Wing is modernizing their nuclear arsenal as the new Sentinel missile system comes online,” said Smith. “The two transformative efforts honor the long history of helicopter support to the 90th.”
Helicopters from the 37 HS and its forebear units have been flying over F.E. Warren and its missile field supporting nuclear operations since October 1973. That shared history gives a solid foundation going forward, and Smith recognized how appropriate it was that these efforts were happening together.
“It is only fitting that we move forward into a Sentinel and MH-139 transition together, modernizing the nuclear arsenal and the aerial fleet in lockstep, much like the efforts of the past,” said Smith. “The facility being constructed behind me is one that will support these monumental efforts.”
Military construction of this magnitude requires multiple agencies’ effort and input, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the lead agency in contracting the construction and ensuring it is completed on time, on target and on budget. U.S. Army Col. Mark Himes, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Omaha District, recognized the people who will accomplish that goal.
“We have a team here of engineers, contractors, designers and other personnel who are going to build a first class facility,” said Himes. “Our chief engineer defines winning by safely constructing high quality facilities on time and on budget, and that’s what we’re going to do here with this facility.”
The facility is scheduled for a completion date of the 3rd quarter of the 2025 Fiscal Year and the construction is being completed by ContiFederal.