Colonel Kurt C. Helphinstine is the Commander, 4th Fighter Wing, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Goldsboro, N.C. As the commander, he is responsible for the organization, training and deployment of one of the largest fighter wings in the United States Air Force, consisting of nearly 7,000 Airmen and civilians. The 4th Fighter Wing is home to 94 F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft assigned to two operational and two training fighter squadrons, flying more than 12,000 sorties and 21,000 hours per year. The 4 FW partners with and provides overall host support for the 916th Air Refueling Wing and its KC-46 fleet. Prior to assuming his current position, Colonel Helphinstine was the Deputy Commander of Operations, 366th Fighter Wing, Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho.
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 seven deployments in support of CENTCOM operations. 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 Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, University of Portland; Portland, Ore.
2006 USAF Weapons School, F-15E, Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.
2008 Master of Arts in Business Management; American Military University, Charles Town, W.Va.
2011 Master of Arts in Military Studies, USMC Command and Staff College, Quantico, Va.
2017 National Security Affairs Fellow, Hoover Institute, Stanford, Calif.
2018 Joint Professional Military Education, Phase II, Joint Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Va.
1. February 1999 – May 2001, Student, Undergraduate Pilot Training, Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas
2. June 2001 – March 2002, Student, F-15E Basic Course, 333d Fighter Squadron, Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C.
3. April 2002 – January 2005, F-15E Pilot, Scheduler, Assistant Chief of Weapons, 391st Fighter Squadron, Mountain Home AFB, Idaho
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 Weapons Group, Nellis AFB, Nev.
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 Commander, 494th Fighter Squadron, RAF, Lakenheath, United Kingdom
9. August 2016 – May 2017, National Security Affairs Fellow, Hoover Institute, Stanford, Calif.
10. June 2017 – June 2018, Executive Officer to the Commander of Air Combat Command, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va.
11. July 2018 – June 2020, Deputy Commander of Operations, Mountain Home AFB, Idaho (November 2019-February 2020, Battle CAB Director, Combined Air Operations Center, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar)
12. July 2020 – Present, Commander, 4th Fighter Wing, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C.
SUMMARY OF JOINT ASSIGNMENTS
1. July 2012 – June 2014, Action Officer, JCS J-35 Joint Operations Directorate, Pentagon, Va. as a lieutenant colonel
2. November 2019-February 2020, Battle CAB Director, Combined Air Operations Center, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, as a colonel
Rating: Command Pilot
Flight hours: More than 2,700, including over 905 combat hours
Aircraft flown: F-15E, T-37, T-38
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Legion of Merit
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Air Medal with eight oak leaf clusters
Aerial Achievement Medal
Joint Service Achievement Medal
Air Force Combat Action Medal
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 July 2020)