48th Rescue Squadron

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48th Rescue Squadron
48th Rescue Squadron - HH-60 Pave Hawk - 2010.jpg
Members of the 48th Rescue Squadron training in preparation for the upcoming hurricane season
Active1952–1969; 1972–1976; 1985–1987; 1993–present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
RoleSearch and Rescue
Part ofAir Combat Command
Garrison/HQDavis-Monthan Air Force Base
Motto(s)Valor and Honor, Night Riders (1994- )[1]
DecorationsAir Force Outstanding Unit Award[1]
48th Rescue Squadron emblem[2]48 Rescue Sq emblem.png
48th Air Rescue Squadron emblem (approved 19 May 1994)[1]48th Rescue Squadron.jpg
48th Air Rescue Squadron emblem (approved 1 December 1953)[3]48 Air Rescue Sq emblem.png
48 RQS personnel practice landing in a 'hot' Landing Zone

The 48th Rescue Squadron is part of the 563d Rescue Group at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona. PJs/CROs primarily fly onboard HH-60 Pave Hawk aircraft while conducting search and rescue missions.


The 48th Rescue Squadron trains, equips, and employs combat-ready pararescuemen, combat rescue officers, and supporting personnel worldwide in support of U.S. national security interests. It provides survivor contact, treatment, and extraction during combat rescue operations, uses various fixed and rotary wing insertion and extraction assets. It employs by any means available to provide combat and humanitarian search, rescue, and medical assistance in all environments.


Activation and training mission[edit]

48 RQS Pararescueman loads a simulated patient during an exercise

The squadron was first activated as the 48th Air Rescue Squadron in November 1952, when Air Rescue Service expanded its existing rescue squadrons into groups. The 48th was established with the assets of Flight C of the 5th Air Rescue Squadron at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. In January 1955, the squadron moved to Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. At Maxwell and Eglin, the 48th flew search, rescue and recovery missions, mostly over water.[1] At Eglin, the squadron added the mission of training rescue aircrews. The squadron was inactivated in February 1969[1] and ite mission transferred to the Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Training Center.[4]

Survival School support[edit]

The squadron, now the 48th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron was reactivated at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington in September 1972. It supported the 3636th Combat Crew Training Wing, which conducted the Air Force's advanced survival school at Fairchild, while continuing to fly search and rescue (SAR) missions. The squadron was inactivated at Fairchild in August 1976.[1]

The squadron was again activated to support survival training in October 1985 at Homestead Air Force Base, Florida, where the USAF Water Survival School, run by a squadron of the 3636th Wing, was located. Again it flew SAR missions in addition to its training role. In addition, squadron personnel performed interdiction missions in support of the South Florida Drug Interdiction Task Force while at Homestead. In December 1987, the squadron was again inactivated.[1]

Rescue in the southwest[edit]

The 48th was reactivated at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico in 1993 and for the next six years flew combat search and rescue missions.[1] Its most recent activation at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona in 2004[1] was as a "guardian angel" squadron, providing pararescuemen, flying on the aircraft and helicopters of the other squadrons of the 563d Rescue Group.


  • Constituted as the 48th Air Rescue Squadron on 17 October 1952
Activated on 14 November 1952
Redesignated 48th Air Recovery Squadron on 1 February 1965
Redesignated 48th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron on 8 January 1966
Redesignated 48th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, Training on 8 July 1967
Inactivated on 7 February 1969
  • Redesignated 48th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron on 14 September 1972
Activated on 15 September 1972
Inactivated on 1 August 1976
  • Activated on 1 October 1985
Inactivated on 31 December 1987
  • Redesignated 48th Rescue Squadron on 1 April 1993
Activated on 1 May 1993
Inactivated on 1 February 1999
  • Activated on 1 April 2004[1]



  • Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, 14 November 1952
  • Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, 10 January 1955 – 7 February 1969
  • Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, 15 September 1972 – 1 August 1976
  • Homestead Air Force Base, Florida, 1 October 1985 – 31 December 1987
  • Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, 1 May 1993 – 1 February 1999
  • Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, 1 April 2004 – present[1]


See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Bailey, Carl E. (18 December 2007). "Factsheet 48 Rescue Squadron (AFSOC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  2. ^ "48th Rescue Squadron emblem". United States Army Institute of Herladry. Retrieved 13 May 2017.
  3. ^ Endicott, p. 574
  4. ^ See Mueller, p. 141 (simultaneous inactivation and inactivation. Mueller omits "Training" from the name of the squadron's successor at Eglin.)


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

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