Based at Portland Air National Guard Base, Ore., the 304th Rescue Squadron is an Air Force Reserve Command combat-search-and-rescue unit. Commanded by Lt. Col. Thomas J. Stephens, the 304th 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. The 304th RQS is part of the 943rd Rescue Group at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., and the 920th Rescue Wing at Patrick AFB, Fla.
Air Force Pararescuemen, also known as PJs, are the only Department of Defense elite combat forces specifically organized, trained, equipped and postured to conduct full spectrum Personnel Recovery (PR) to include both conventional and unconventional combat rescue operations. These battlefield Airmen are the most highly trained and versatile personnel recovery specialists in the world. Pararescue is the nation's force of choice to execute the most perilous, demanding and extreme rescue missions anytime, anywhere across the globe.
The 304th trains, equips to deploy Combat Rescue Officers, PJs, and support personnel worldwide in support of U.S. national security interests. It provides contact, extraction and treatment for civilian and combat search-and-rescue operations. It also uses various fixed- and rotary-wing insertion/extraction assets, and employs by any means available to provide combat and humanitarian search, rescue, and medical assistance in all environments.
PEACETIME The peacetime mission of the 304th is to train and maintain rescue capability for DoD personnel, humanitarian and disaster relief activities.
WARTIME The 304th's wartime mission is to provide combat rescue capabilities to recover downed aircrew members and isolated personnel. They can provide this capability under the harshest of circumstances to include, day/night, inclement weather and all terrain rescue conditions.
Activated in the Reserve on November 16, 1957 at Porland IAP. In1961, PJs were added to the unit, since then the 304th has been training, equipping and employing Combat Rescue Officers, PJs, and support personnel worldwide in support of U.S. national security interests. During the 1980s, the unit conducted numerous SAR missions, most notably among these were the 100+ missions following the eruption of Mt. St. Helens in May 1980. It maintained helicopter air refueling capability from 1985 to 1997 and deployed to provide SAR coverage worldwide, including Keflavík, Iceland, during and after the Gulf War and to the Persian Gulf region from 1990-2003. Since 2001, personnel from the 304th RQS have deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
"These Things We Do, That Others May Live."
· Missions: Combat and civilian search and rescue in any type of environment, i.e. desert, urban, mountain, water and worldwide humanitarian relief.
· Assigned: Approximately 115 Airmen.
· Citizen Airmen: Airmen hold civilian jobs in the local community and simultaneously serve in the Air Force Reserve.
· Pararescuemen: Elite operators with high-level training in mountaineering, endurance swimming, survival & evasion techniques, special-operations weapons & tactics, demolitions and both combat and peacetime emergency medicine.
· Combat Rescues: More than 150 combat rescues/recoveries during the unit's most recent deployment to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Africa.