The 305th Rescue Squadron, an Air Force Reserve unit located at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., is assigned to the 943rd Rescue Group, which is a geographically separate unit of the 920th Rescue Wing at Patrick AFB, Fla. The commander of the 305th RQS is Lt. Col. Kevin J. Merrill.
MISSION: The 305th RQS trains personnel, with equipment, to achieve and maintain the capability to perform day/night combat rescue missions; search for, locate and recover United States Air Force and other Department of Defense personnel involved with United States defense activities; provide search and rescue support of civilians as directed by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center; and provide humanitarian and disaster relief operations at the request of foreign governments and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
WARTIME: Upon recall to active duty, the gaining command is Air Combat Command (ACC), Langley AFB, Virginia.
ORGANIZATION: The 305th RQS is a flying unit consisting of aircrew members pilots, flight engineers and support personnel in maintenance, operations and administration.
AIRCRAFT: The 305th RQS is assigned the HH-60G Sikorsky Pave Hawk twin-engine helicopter.
HISTORY: The 305th RQS was established at Selfridge AFB, Michigan, in April 1958 with four SA-16A Albatross aircraft and 90 personnel. Its mission was to conduct search and rescue operations in an assigned are by gaining command Military Air Transport Service, through Air Rescue Service.
From 1966 through 1992, the 305th RQS was assigned the following aircraft: HC-97 Stratocruisers, HC-130 Hercules, and H-3 Jolly Green Giant. During the squadron's tenure at Selfridge AFB, they were recalled to active duty to support search and rescue mission taskings worldwide to include deployed locations in Libya, Spain, North Africa, Greece, Germany, Italy, England, Iceland, Southeast Asia, and Korea.
The 305th RQS continued its support of local peacetime rescue while maintaining combat deployable status to include the following accomplishments: the dramatic recovery of 11 seamen from a sinking Canadian freighter in Lake Erie; transport of 14 workers critically injured from a factory accident; successful participation in foreign training exercises with Brazil, Honduras and Venezuela; Qualification Test and Evaluation of the Air Force C-130 Self-Contained Navigation System; space shuttle support; and search and rescue standby at Keflavik, Iceland.
In 1985, a 305th helicopter crew earned the Korean Kolligan, Jr. Trophy, the highest safety award in the Air Force, for successfully landing their severely disabled H-3 Jolly Green Giant helicopter after one of the engines exploded.
In 1991, pararescue personnel deployed to the Persian Gulf to support the Liberation of Kuwait.
In 1992, with the draw down of active and reserve forces, the squadron's HC-130 Hercules aircraft were transferred to active duty and the H-3 Jolly Green helicopters were retired. The 305th RQS was inactivated September 30, 1992.
On March 1, 1994, the 71st Special Operations Squadron, located at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz. was deactivated and reactivated as the 305th RQS. The 305th RQS assumed all personnel and assets of the 71st SOS upon its inactivation and return from a 6-month tasking at Operation Provide Comfort II. The squadron was tasked to support Operation Provide Comfort II, 10 months after beginning the conversion to HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters. The squadron deployed three HH-60G Pave Hawks and 95 personnel and accomplished 315 combat sorties.
On June 30, 1994, two aircrews received the 1993 Reserve Officers Association Maj. Gen. Tom E. Marchbanks, Jr. Memorial Award for their heroic efforts in providing security for a British Harrier which crashed in the northern no-fly zone of Iraq on November 23, 1993, while deployed in support of Operation Provide Comfort II.
On May 19, 1994, the 305th RQS was credited with their first save. The crew completed a daring night rescue using night vision goggles and a stokes litter to hoist an injured Army specialist from a sixty degree mountain slope surrounded by forty- to sixty- foot trees.
The 305th RQS continued to support local peacetime rescues while maintaining combat deployable status. During the performance of 17 rescue missions from May 1994 to September 1996, the squadron was credited with saving 10 lives and assisting with an eleventh.
The 305th Rescue Squadron was the first and only Reserve helicopter unit to achieve a shipboard operations capability. The unit has been presented three Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards for the time periods June 1, 1992 to May 31, 1994; October 1, 1993 to August 31, 1995; and September 1, 1997 to August 31, 1999.
In 2002, the 305th Rescue Squadron was activated for one year under the partial mobilization order to participate in Operations Enduring Freedom and Southern Watch, at Al Jaber AB in Kuwait.
In 2005, the 305th RQS was redesignated the 943rd Rescue Group. The 305th Rescue Squadron remained as a subordinate flying squadron.
(Current as of March 24, 2013)