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66th Rescue Squadron [66th RQS]

The 66th Rescue Squadron first took to the air on 14 November 1952 at Royal Air Base Manston, England, flying C-119 "Flying Boxcar" transports, H-19 "Chickasaw" helicopters and SA-16 "Albatross" seaplanes. The unit deactivated on 18 January 1958 and remained inactive for thirty-three years.

On 1 March 1991, the 66th was reborn to create the first in a new era of worldwide deployable combat rescue units flying the HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter. The squadron's primary mission of combat search and rescue (CSAR) is markedly enhanced by the Pave Hawk's ability to operate in adverse weather both day and night.

In 1993 the 66th became the first USAF rescue unit to deploy to a combat zone since the Vietnam conflict when their CSAR expertise was needed in Operation SOUTHERN WATCH over southern Iraq. The unit continues to provide critical CSAR coverage in Operations NORTHERN and SOUTHERN WATCH and anywhere vital US interests are at risk.

The primary mission of the 66th Rescue Squadron is world-wide combat rescue in support of combat air forces. The 66th RQS is one of four Air Force active-duty HH-60 combat rescue units and is geared for world-wide deployment. The 66th RQS performs other vital functions in addition to worldwide combat rescue.

The 66th RQS also:

  • Provides rapidly deployable combat search and rescue (CSAR) forces to theater CINCs worldwide.
  • Conducts peacetime search and rescue (SAR) in support of the National Search and Rescue Plan and the Air Warfare Center.
  • Directly supports HH-60G logistical and maintenance support requirements for the USAF Weapons School and Air Combat Command-directed operational test missions.

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    Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:14:45 ZULU