920th Rescue Wing [920th RQW]
The 920th Rescue Wing (RQW), originally the 301st Rescue Squadron, was the Air Force Reserve's first rescue squadron.
The squadron's legacy includes the first Reserve rescue in January 1957; participating in NASA's rescue contingency operations beginning with the first Mercury launch in 1961; rescuing 137 south Florida residents during the 18 day humanitarian operation following Hurricane Andrew, August 1992; and, in one day in March 1993, saving 93 elderly residents from rising flood waters at their Tampa area retirement community. The 920th searches the Caribbean for downed aircraft and retrieves critically ill sailors from ships hundreds of miles out in the Atlantic.
Most recently, airmen of the 920th Rescue Wing with aid from the US Coast Guard made a daring rescue of 28 British seamen from their sinking merchant vessel 270 miles off the east coast of Florida. The unit's crews fly in weather conditions which often test man and machine or at night using night-vision technology. The 920th completes arduous, over-water rescues which frequently require the unit's HH-60 helicopters to be mid-air refueled by their HC-130 tanker aircraft -- a capability not shared with Coast Guard helicopters.
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