40th ARRS, Hill/Homestead 1977-1992
Following the Vietnam War, the 40th ARRS moved to Hill Air Force Base, Utah, where their primary mission for the next 10 years was to provide transportation and support for Hill’s bombing ranges. The unit was inactivated in 1987.
If anyone has information on operations during this time period, please contact the USAFHPA Historian.
Det 1, 40th ARRS
1982 – A UH-1N helicopter from Det 1, 40 ARRS, 39 ARRW conducting water hoist operations of student from the U.S.A.F. Water Survival School, Homestead AFB, FL. After the students parasailed into Biscayne Bay, spent some time drifting in their life raft a Det 1 helicopter flight crew hoisted the student to give them the experience of a real helicopter hoist rescue. Due to salt water corrosion concerns, the student was lifted to the side of the helicopter and then lowered back into the bay where a survival school boat picked up the student. Depending on the class size, Det 1 helicopter flight crews would conduct 50 – 150 day water hoists a week using 1 or 2 UH-1N helicopters. Det 1 flight crews were the very best in the U.S. Air Force conducting day and night water hoist operations. Unit call sign “SAVE”. HH-3 helicopters were used prior to UH-1N helicopters to support the U.S.A.F. Water Survival School. Taking advantage of the wonderful winter weather at Homestead AFB, we had many visitors from ARRS HQ, Scott AFB IL during January and February every year. The white boat just outside the helicopter’s rotor wash is a Survival School safety boat used in case the student or the helicopter had a problem. During my 3 years assigned to Det 1, thankfully the safety boat was never needed. SR-71 pilots, U2 pilots, Space Shuttle astronauts and even the U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff were students of the Water Survival School and experienced a water hoist pickup from Det 1 flight crews. If you were a pilot of an ejection seat equipped aircraft, you attended the Water Survival School at Homestead AFB.
Det 1, 40 ARRS unit picture taken in 1982. Note in the background the Air Defense Alert Hangars where 4 – F-4s were always cocked and armed ready for immediately launch.
I was assigned as a UH-1N helicopter pilot to Det 1 upon completion of flight school; 1980 to 1983. There were 3 UH-1N helicopters assigned to Det 1; 69-7536, 69-7537, 69-6663. When I reported to Det 1 in Feb 1980, the unit was Det 1, 38 ARRS and was at the east end of Homestead AFB while the 38 ARRS HQ was at the west end of Homestead AFB. Sometime in 1982 ? the 38 ARRS moved to Osan AB, Korea and Det 1 became Det 1, 40 ARRS. The 40 ARRS HQ was at Hill AFB, UT. Besides supporting the U.S.A.F. Water Survival School at Homestead AFB, Det 1 also supported the host 31st TFW, conducted MAST medevac missions and backed up other Florida U.S. Air Force rescue units. During my 3 years assigned to Det 1, our Unit was commander by Lt.Col. Darwin Edwards, then Lt.Col. William Logan and Maj. Ed Frye. In 1992 when Hurricane Andrews traveled right down the Homestead AFB runway, the base was destroyed and the U.S.A.F. survival school was moved and Det 1 deactivated. Det 1, 40 ARRS was the very best U.S.A.F. helicopter unit and all Det 1 personnel were the very finest. Being a member of Det 1, 40 ARRS was the best assignment I ever had in the U.S.A.F.
David Delisio, USAF, Retired