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303d Rescue Squadron
United States Air Forces in Europe.png
303rd Rescue Squadron 140128-F-NG544-004.jpg
303d Expeditionary Rescue Squadron airmen on Camp Lemonnier prepare a HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter for shipment
Active 1956–1993; 1997–2003; 2013–present
Country United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Role Search and Rescue
Part of United States Air Forces Europe
Decorations Air Force Outstanding Unit Award[1]
303d Expeditionary Rescue Squadron emblem (approved 4 March 1959, reinstated 26 August 1996)[1] 303d Rescue Squadron.jpg
303d Tactical Airlift Squadron emblem (approved c. February 1986)[2] 303 Tactical Airlift Sq emblem.png

The 303d Expeditionary Rescue Squadron is a provisional unit of the United States Air Force. It is permanently deployed to Camp Lemonier, Djibouti. It was reactivated in 2013 as a forward deployed umbrella organization for rotational Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk and pararescue/Guardian Angel combat search and rescue units of the Air Force Reserve deployed to U.S. Africa Command, specifically to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa.[3]

From 1997 until 2003, the then-303d Rescue Squadron was a Lockheed HC-130 Combat King squadron, part of the Air Force Reserve Command's 939th Rescue Wing at Portland Air Reserve Station at Portland International Airport, Oregon. When the 939th transitioned to an air refueling mission with the KC-135 Stratotanker and became the 939th Air Refueling Wing, the 303d was inactivated. As part of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission process, the 939 ARW was itself inactivated in June 2008.

Mission[edit | edit source]

Combat search and rescue, personnel recovery, and aeromedical evacuation capability for USAFRICOM, AFAFRICA and Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), to include a rescue alert mission, utilizing the HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter.

History[edit | edit source]

Reserve rescue mission[edit | edit source]

The 303d performed search and rescue, as well as aeromedical evacuation missions, in the Southwestern United States and occasionally into Central America from 1956 to 1985. During this period the squadron also performed escort missions for aircraft deploying to the Pacific.

Airlift[edit | edit source]

Its mission changed to tactical and theater airlift with the Lockheed C-130 Hercules in 1985, to include also providing aerial fire-fighting utilizing the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System in support to the U.S. Forest Service in the Western U.S. from 1985 to 1993.

Return to rescue mission[edit | edit source]

Beginning in 1997, the 303d transitioned back to the HC-130 Hercules and once again trained for combat search and rescue and SAR and helicopter air refueling missions, primarily in the Northwestern United States, augmented by periodic overseas deployments augmenting the regular Air Force.[1]AFHRA 303 RQS Page[dead link]</ref> Members of the 303rd were mobilized and deployed to Italy from May - August 1999 in support of Operation Allied Force.

The 303d was inactivated in 2003 when the 939th Rescue Wing changed missions and became the 939th Air Refueling Wing.

Expeditionary unit[edit | edit source]

The 303d was reactivated in 2013 as an expeditionary rescue squadron for rotational Air Force Reserve Sikorsky HH-60G Pave Hawk and pararescue/Guardian Angel units deployed to Camp Lemonier, Djibouti in support of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA). The squadron replaced Heavy Marine Helicopter Squadron 464 (HMH-464) Detachment A.[3]

Lineage[edit | edit source]

  • Constituted as the 303d Air Rescue Squadron on 1 August 1956
Activated in the reserve on 8 October 1956
Redesignated 303d Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron on 18 January 1966
Redesignated 303d Tactical Airlift Squadron on 1 April 1985[4]
Redesignated 303d Airlift Squadron on 1 February 1992
Inactivated on 30 June 1993
  • Redesignated 303 Rescue Squadron on 1 April 1997
Activated in the reserve on 15 April 1997
Inactivated on 1 April 2003
  • Redesignated 303d Expeditionary Rescue Squadron and converted to provisional status on 22 July 2011[1]
  • Activated c. 5 February 2013[3]

Assignments[edit | edit source]

  • 2347th Air Reserve Flying Center, 8 October 1956
  • 2350th Air Reserve Flying Center, 1 October 1958
  • Fourth Air Force, 8 April 1960
  • Sixth Air Force Reserve Region, 1 September 1960
  • Western Air Force Reserve Region, 31 December 1969
  • 403d Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Wing (later 403 Rescue and Weather Reconnaissance Wing), 15 March 1976[5]
  • 943d Tactical Airlift Group (later 943d Airlift Group), 1 April 1985
  • 943d Operations Group, 1 August 1992 – 30 June 1993
  • 939th Operations Group, 15 April 1997 – 1 April 2003
  • United States Air Forces in Europe to activate or inactivate at any time on or after 22 July 2011[1]
449th Air Expeditionary Group, c, 5 February 2013[3]

Stations[edit | edit source]

Aircraft[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Robertson, Patsy (April 5, 2012). "Factsheet 33 Expeditionary Rescue Squadron (USAFE)". Air Force Historical Agency. http://www.afhra.af.mil/About-Us/Fact-Sheets/Display/Article/432117/303-expeditionary-rescue-squadron-usafe/. Retrieved August 17, 2017. 
  2. "Approved insignia for: 303d Tactical Airlift Squadron". National Archives Catalog. April 9, 1986. https://catalog.archives.gov/id/6399674. Retrieved December 12, 2017. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Young, SSG Jonathan (February 5, 2013). "303rd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron arrives, unloads helos". Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa Public Affairs. https://www.hoa.africom.mil/story/7736/303rd-expeditionary-rescue-squadron-arrives-unloads-helos. Retrieved August 17, 2017.  and Iinuma, SSG Kevin (February 11, 2013). "CSAR: A Legacy Continues". Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa Public Affairs. https://www.hoa.africom.mil/story/10599/csar-a-legacy-continues. Retrieved August 17, 2017. 
  4. The squadron is not related to the 303d Tactical Airlift Squadron, also a reserve unit, which was active at Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base from June 1971 to October 1982.
  5. Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings, Lineage & Honors Histories 1947-1977. Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. p. 216. ISBN 0-912799-12-9. http://media.defense.gov/2010/Sep/21/2001330257/-1/-1/0/AFD-100921-047.pdf. Retrieved December 17, 2016. 

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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