Based at Portland Air National Guard Base, Oregon, the 304th Rescue Squadron is an Air Force Reserve Command combat search and rescue unit. 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 943d Rescue Group at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, a geographically separated unit within the 920th Rescue Wing at Patrick Space Force Base, Florida.
The 304th trains, equips to deploy combat rescue officers, pararescuemen and support personnel worldwide in support of U.S. national security interests. The squadron provides contact, extraction and treatment for civilian, DoD personnel, humanitarian, disaster relief activities, and combat search and rescue operations. They can provide this capability under the harshest of circumstances to include, day/night, inclement weather and all terrain rescue conditions. The 304th RQS 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.
Activated in the Reserve on November 16, 1957, at Portland International Airport. During the 1980s, the unit conducted numerous search and rescue 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 search and rescue 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.
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 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.