40th Helicopter Squadron
Published June 30, 2015
The 40th Helicopter Squadron, a tenant unit assigned to Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, began as Detachment 5 of the 37th Air Rescue and Recovery Squadron and was one of seven detachments in the 37th ARRS under Military Airlift Command. The 37th ARRS was activated during the Korean War when helicopters were first used for medical evacuation. After the Vietnam War, 37th ARRS was deactivated, only to be reactivated in December 1973.
The 37th ARRS has been in service since March 21, 1968, and has carried out numerous search and rescue operations in combat areas throughout Southeast Asia, participated in the evacuations of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Saigon, Vietnam and also provided service during the assault on Koh Tang Island during the Mayaguez incident.
Malmstrom AFB has had helicopters assigned since December 1964 under the Strategic Air Command structure and the 40th Rescue Flight was activated May 1, 1993. In April 1998, the unit was redesignated as the 40th Helicopter Flight, and in October 2005, the unit was redesignated the 40th Helicopter Squadron.
On March 27, 2015, 20th Air Force activated the first helicopter group in the Air Force. The 582nd Helicopter Group officially took over operations of the 40th HS, along with helicopter squadrons at Minot AFB in North Dakota and F.E. Warren AFB in Wyoming, improving mission effectiveness and standardization at all three missile wings.
The 40th Helicopter Squadron ensures strategic security by providing flexible, rapid-response helicopter airlift support to the 341st Missile Wing. The 40th also performs aerial surveillance of Department of Defense strategic weapon convoys and short notice emergency security forces responses; supports emergency war order taskings, and priority personnel and logistical transportation. The 40th Helicopter Squadron has a proud rescue history and currently conducts search and rescue missions in support of the Joint Chiefs of Staff National Search and Rescue plan.
The 40 HS currently employs the UH-1N "Iroquois" helicopter, commonly know as "Huey," a name that stems from its original designation of utility. The aircraft can carry up to 13 passengers at a maximum gross weight of 10,500 pounds. It has a range of 300 miles and can travel at a maximum airspeed of 130 knots (approximately 145 miles per hour). To date the unit has saved more than 425 lives and since 1973 has logged over 145,000 flying hours. The men and women of the 40th Helicopter Squadron are proud of their military heritage and continue to strive for excellence and better service for the 341st Missile Wing.