Colonel Kurt Helphinstine is the Deputy Commander for Operations, 366th Fighter Wing, Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. As the Deputy Commander for Operations, he supports the Wing Commander in overseeing an operational fighter wing equipped with F-15E and F-15SG fighter aircraft. The wing is comprised of 4,200 military and civilian members that supports 19 squadrons, including a Republic of Singapore squadron. It hosts the 726th Air Control Squadron – one of only three active-duty Air Force control reporting centers in the U.S. – and the Idaho Air National Guard 266th Range Squadron. The wing operates, maintains and develops the Mountain Home Range Complex comprised of 9,016 square miles of associated airspace and 122,000 acres of land space used for two air-to-ground training ranges, five no-drop target complexes, and 30 multi-size electronic combat sites. The command also includes the 390th Electronic Combat Squadron, which flies U.S. Navy EA-18G Growlers at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington.
Colonel Kurt “Bigfoot” Helphinstine was commissioned in 1999, from ROTC at the University of Portland in Oregon. Following Undergraduate Pilot Training at Sheppard AFB, Texas, he was assigned to the F-15E Strike Eagle. He has had three operational assignments and six deployments in the F-15E. Colonel Helphinstine also attended and instructed in the F-15E at the USAF Weapons School at Nellis AFB, Nevada. In addition to flying the F-15E, Colonel Helphinstine has served on the Air Combat Command and Joint Staff.
Colonel Helphinstine has over 2,700 flying hours in the F-15E, T-38, and T-37, and has 905 combat hours over Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan.
1999 BS in Civil Engineering; University of Portland; Portland, OR
2006 USAF Weapons School, F-15E; Nellis AFB, NV
2008 MA in Business Management; American Military University; Charles Town, WV
2011 MA in Military Studies; USMC Command and Staff College; Quantico, VA
2017 National Security Affairs Fellow; Hoover Institute; Stanford, CA
2018 Joint Professional Military Education, Phase II; Joint Forces Staff College; Norfolk, VA
1. February 1999 – May 2001, student, undergraduate pilot training, Sheppard AFB, TX.
2. June 2001 – March 2002, student, F-15E basic course, 333d Fighter Squadron, Seymour Johnson AFB, NC.
3. April 2002 – January 2005, F-15E pilot, scheduler, assistant chief of weapons, 391st Fighter Squadron, Mountain Home AFB, ID.
4. February 2005 – January 2008, F-15E flight examiner, security officer, chief of tactics, 492d Fighter Squadron, Lakenheath AFB, United Kingdom.
5. February 2008 – June 2011, F-15E USAF Weapons School instructor, mission employment project officer, chief of wing weapons, 57th WG, Nellis AFB, NV.
6. July 2011 – June 2012, student, USMC Command and Staff College, Quantico, VA.
7. July 2012 – June 2014, action officer, JCS J-35 Joint Operations Directorate, Pentagon, VA.
8. July 2014 – July 2016, Assistant Director of Operations and then Commander, 494th Fighter Squadron, RAF, Lakenheath, United Kingdom.
9. August 2016 – May 2017, National Security Affairs Fellow, Hoover Institute, Stanford, CA.
10. June 2017 – June 2018, Executive Officer to the Commander of Air Combat Command, Langley AFB, VA.
11. July 2018 – Present, Deputy Commander of Operations, Mountain Home AFB, ID.
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal with 3 oak leaf clusters
Air Medal with 8 oak leaf clusters
Aerial Achievement Medal
Joint Service Achievement Medal
Air Force Combat Action Medal
Rating: Command Pilot
Flight/combat hours: 2700/905
Aircraft flown: F-15E, T-37, T-38
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant January 1999
First Lieutenant January 2001
Captain January 2003
Major September 2008
Lieutenant Colonel November 2012
Colonel April 2018
(Current as of August 2018)