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79th Rescue Squadron
79th Rescue Squadron USAF.jpg
Active
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Type Search and Rescue
Part of Air Combat Command
23d Air Force
563d Rescue Group
Garrison/HQ Davis-Monthan Air Force Base

The 79th Rescue Squadron (79 RQS) operates the HC-130P/E Hercules and provides rapidly deploy-able combat search and rescue forces to theater commanders worldwide. It conducts helicopter air refueling, airdrop, and airland of pararescue personnel and/or equipment in support of combat personnel recovery. Its crews are capable of landings on short, unimproved, runways and low-level operations during day or night with night vision goggles. [1]

Contents

Mission

History

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Operations

2006 Sudan mission

On November 28, 2006 a squadron HC-130 aircraft assigned to Camp Lemonier, Djibouti was sent to an airfield in Darfur, Sudan to retrieve the belongings of a US military liaison who had left the area. On the ground at Al-Fashir airfield, the aircraft was surrounded by 150 Sudanese soldiers who refused to allow the aircraft to leave, fearing that the crew had taken photographs of Sudanese military operations at the airfield. The Sudanese soldiers threatened to rape two female members of the crew and stated that the entire crew would be executed. The US crew barricaded the aircraft and refused to allow the Sudanese soldiers to enter during a tense stand-off.[2]

After four hours, a locally assigned US military liaison was able to persuade the Sudanese airfield commander to allow the aircraft to depart without further incident. Once back at Djibouti, for unknown reasons the 79th's squadron commander, Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Austin, declined to report that the crew had been held hostage and the crew's ordeal was kept secret from USAF senior leadership. The story did not become known until October 2009 when crew members were awarded decorations for their actions in the incident. Although several crew members had been recommended for the Bronze Star, then United States Air Forces Central Commander Lieutenant General Gary North downgraded the awards to Air Force Achievement Medals. At least two of the aicrew members involved in the incident now suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder.[3]

Lineage

  • 79th Rescue Squadron ( - Present)

Assignments

Bases stationed

Aircraft Operated

References

Notes

Bibliography

See also


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