48th Rescue Squadron
The 48 RQS was established in 1952 at Maxwell AFB, AL. Previously named the 48th Air Rescue Squadron and the 48th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, the unit flew search, rescue, and recovery missions over water and land during the periods 1952-1969, 1972-1976, 1985-1987, and 1993-1999. It also supported the USAF Survival School at Fairchild AFB, WA, from 1972 to 1976. The 48 RQS operated eleven separate air frames and was established at five different air force bases before being reactivated at Davis-Monthan AFB in 2003. It is now a Guardian Angel squadron consisting of Pararescuemen (PJ), Combat Rescue Officers (CRO), Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) Specialists, and combat support personnel.
In the last 5 years, the 48 RQS has deployed 11 times, providing 411 highly trained personnel in support of OIR, OIF, OEF, and CJTF-HOA; conducted humanitarian operations during multiple hurricanes, to include Harvey and Irma; provided direct, sustained rescue and medical support to the President of the United States; and saved dozens of lives in civil search-and-rescue operations. In that time, the 48 RQS rescue teams have saved hundreds of lives in combat and noncombat situations, living out the Pararescue motto: "These things we do...that others may live."
"Valor and Honor"
Mission (Mission Statement):
Organize, train, and equip Guardian Angel and supporting forces for rapid deployment and execution of full-spectrum personnel recovery operations in support of national security objectives across hostile, uncertain, and permissive environments that support air power from the ground up.
Develop a combat ready organization with the agility to plan and employ high-risk technical rescue capabilities by exploiting the multi-domain environment through inspiring leadership an innovation as a superiorly trained, best maintained, and most capable squadron of personnel recovery experts in the world.
The 48 RQS consists of approximately 115 personnel to include: PJs, CROs, SERE Specialists, and combat support personnel. CRO/PJ teams provide rapid response in adverse geographic/urban environments to include contested/sensitive areas and provide ground interface, survivor contact, and emergency trauma care. The teams function on flying status for day/night, land/water, and recovery operations from ground vehicles, helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. Rescue teams deploy from the aircraft via static line and free fall parachute, fast rope, rappel, and hoist methods. Rescue teams are capable of staging/evacuation, surface/subsurface maritime (SCUBA), confined space/collapsed structure extrication, high altitude, and technical rescue. SERE Specialists focus on tactical preparation and planning, environmental and navigation expertise, operations center command and control, and reintegration of isolated personnel.
In order to conduct Personnel Recovery operations in hostile, uncertain, and permissive environments and execute the four functions and five tasks that come with it, the 48 RQS operates and maintains a wide variety of equipment. This includes maritime, ground mobility, technical rescue, medical, SERE, precision aerial insertion, information management, force application/personal protection, and visual augmentation systems. All equipment is fully capable of rapid, worldwide deployment on short notice.
Between 2013 and 2014, the 48th Rescue Squadron won the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for the longest duration recovery mission in 23d Wing history. In 2015, the 48 RQS supported partner nations with an over water rescue, and in 2016 the 48 RQS saved the crew of an intelligence collection aircraft while denying all sensitive items to the enemy. The 48 RQS personnel have recently been the recipients of hundreds of Air Medals, numerous Combat Action Medals, and several Bronze Stars and Distinguished Flying Crosses.
Current as of November 2017