Modernized facility increases 308th Rescue Squadron effectiveness

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Kelly Goonan, 920th Rescue Wing Public Affairs

The 308th Rescue Squadron recently moved into a new $25 million, 62,000-square-foot modernized facility tailored to maximize continuity between home station and deployed locations.

When Airmen deploy to austere locations, building and storage makeup is often drastically different than what they’re accustomed to at home station, creating a period of adjustment.

“You will see this in the new building, a focus on efficiency to the mission. A modular design intended to simulate our deployed locations allowing team members to practice and streamline efficiencies that will make them more effective in combat,” said Chief Master Sgt. Brent Burch, 308th RQS chief enlisted manager.

During a dedication ceremony held here, Dec. 6, 2022, Burch explained how the squadron looks different from the facility’s inception to completion, a project that took over seven years.

“We've lost three brothers during that time: Capt. Mark Weber, Master Sgt., Bill Posch and Staff Sgt. Carl Enis. In that time our family has suffered, grieved, laughed, loved and even fought. This building means more to us than just a place to drop our bags. We are a team constantly evolving and adapting to new challenges with a no fail attitude that resonates in and outside of the squadron. This building is not only a physical location, but a mindset. A mindset focused on combat and allowing us to sharpen our mental skills,” Burch said.

This new facility synchronizes the way the 308th RQS trains and conducts their weekly battle rhythm while at home station to how they operate on deployments. The design provides an open floor concept that the squadron leveraged to create a specific setup that they would see in a hangar or large open space, as is more traditional for deployed settings. The office design and layout allow a flow from mission alert call to stepping out the door for mission execution.

“For instance, from the team room where they receive the initial mission profile, the PJs flow into the intelligence room for further information. From there, they’ll be able to go into a mock tactical operations center/joint operations center for mission planning. After mission planning, they’ll pass through the armory for weapons, then into their personal equipment cages to acquire their equipment, then on to the alert area where vehicles are staged for loading,” Burch said.

The new facility also accommodates jump mission sets by ensuring the aircrew flight equipment area is now directly behind their alert staging area, which closes any time-distance issues often found within a large building. This AFE area is designed under the same efficient and user-friendly layout with modernized capabilities.

The new parachute drying tower is state of the art with a dehumidifier, heated air, and underground rinse tank. The drying tower door is designed to allow a truck towing a boat to pull up and drop wet parachutes that can then be moved to the tub and dropped in, rather than their old above ground tub system which required Airmen to lift wet parachutes, which can weigh upwards of 300lbs, to shoulder level. The new parachute hook system can lower all the way down to the water allowing AFE specialist to easily hook up the parachute without having to shoulder press a wet parachute above their head to lift for the drying process. After drying, the parachutes can be lowered and pulled directly into the packing area, eliminating the former need to pile up cumbersome parachutes and hand carry them onto the packing mat.

Additionally, extra equipment can be better organized for deployment rotations and stored inside this new building verse spread across multiple buildings, allowing for faster inspections. This also enables 308th RQS Airmen to create standard pack outs that can be refined and passed on to all members within the squadron so that every deploying Airman will know what should be packed and how to pack it into individual storage units.

“This streamlines our process and cuts down man hours of reinventing the wheel and searching for items. By mirroring home station and deployed location settings we match battle rhythm training and equipment checks thus reducing the stress on the member and maximizing processes in all environments,” Burch said.

The 308th RQS trains and maintains the Air Force’s only dedicated rescue capability for Department of Defense personnel in support of combatant commander’s wartime objectives as well as peacetime humanitarian and disaster relief activities.