USAF Patch Rescue ARS Air Service HH 60 Pave Hawk Combat King
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USAF Patch Rescue ARS Air Service HH 60 Pave Hawk Combat King

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  • Item #: 1P 02US 4USA 01SQN 2OP 000ARS 02
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USAF Patch ARS Air Rescue Service CSAR 1990 HH 60 Pave Hawk Jolly Green HC 130 Combat King McClellan AFB California Worldwide Velcro Fully embroidered cut edge 92mm by 75mm three and five eighth inches by two and fifteen sixteenth inches.

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Air Rescue Service was activated in March 1946 under the Air Transport Command just prior to the establishment of the US Air Forces as a separate service in 1947 to provide rescue coverage for the continental United States. Air Rescue Service covered transport routes around the World by 1949 with specially adapted SB 17 Flying Fortress and SB 29 Superfortress fixed wing aircraft with airdrop lifeboats and some helicopters.

The use of helicopters for rescue missions medical evacuation and recues under fire increased greatly during the Korean War and became a dominant factor in saving lives with ARS crews credited with the rescue of 9898 United Nations personnel 996 of which were combat saves.

Following the Korean War the Air Rescue Service resumed worldwide peacetime operations for rescue coverage with its active service Air National Guard and Reserve Squadrons undertaking many hundreds of humanitarian relief and rescue missions utilizing HU 16 Albatross fixed wing amphibious flying boat aircraft known as Dumbo and the UH 19 and HH 19 Chickasaw helicopters upgraded for search and rescue. ARS relocated its headquarters to Orlando Air Force Base Florida in 1954 controlling 12 Groups and 38 Squadrons.

HH 43 Huskie helicopters entered the ARS inventory in the late 1950s for use on or in the immediate vicinity of air force bases for local base rescue LBR and crash rescue and fire fighting. The ARS peacetime force was not equipped trained or structured to meet the demands of war in Southeast Asia in the early 1960s with lessons learnt from Combat Search and Rescue during the Korean War apparently forgotten. As lessons were relearned the ARS combat rescue capability increased. Initially HH 43 Huskie rescue detachments from bases in the continental United States CONUS were deployed to air bases in Vietnam and Thailand with the new nickname and callsign of Pedro. Although limited in range and armour the ARS develop tactics and adaptations which allowed HH 43 Pedros to fly deep into North Vietnam Laos and Cambodia for Area Crew Recovery ACRs with the HH 43s accounted for more lives saved than any other rescue helicopter in the Vietnam War. Combat rescue tactics and combined mission teams were developed to assist locating downed airmen and to provide protection during the rescue. Low and slow flying Forward Air Controllers FACs from Tactical Air Command TAC with O 1E Bird Dog light aircraft call sign Nail initially serve as the on scene commander during a rescue operation helped locate the downed crew marking the location with smoke and directing Close Air Support CAS A 1 Skyraider aircraft call sign Sandy or Super Spad provided enemy ground troop suppression and protection for the pickup helicopter call sign Pedro. HH 43s Pedros accounted for more lives saved than any other rescue helicopter in the Vietnam War.

The requirement for SAR under fire brought new specialist aircraft equipment and development of tactics with CH 3E Sea King and HH 3E Jolly Green Giant helicopters call sign Jolly for Air Crew Recovery ACR and HC 130 Hercules fixed wing aircraft adapted for search and rescue mission command and air refuelling for rescue helicopters call sign King equipping Air Rescue Service Squadrons.

Air Rescue Service was redesignated Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Service ARRS on 1 January 1966 to reflect its additional role of worldwide rescue and recovery support for manned US space flights conducted by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration NASA. At the same time its command Military Air Transport Service MATS was redesignated Military Airlift Command MAC.

ARRS headquarters relocated to Scott AFB Illinois with MAC headquarters in 1968. Armed OV 10 Bronco aircraft began working with search and rescue forces in 1970 as FAC aircraft with some equipped with PAVE NAIL night observation equipment able to locate survivors at night or in bad weather.

The withdrawal of US combat forces from the Vietnam War included a drawdown of CSAR assets and ARRS resumed a peacetime service of training military aircraft mishaps NASA support or complex SAR or humanitarian support for disaster events outside the capability of local civilian authorities.

Following the aborted USAF USMC Teheran American Embassy hostages rescue mission in 1980 the USAF transferred the ARRS HH 53E Super Jolly Green Giant helicopters to the 1 Special Operations Wing SOW leaving ARRS with an aging fleet of UH 1 HH 1 Iroquois Huey CH 3E and HH 3E Jolly Green Giant helicopters HC 130N and HC 130P N Combat King Hercules aircraft. ARRS continued to train crews in CSAR with emphasis on NVG operations with CSAR support provided to small scale combat operations in the 1980s but the inactivation of the HH 1 Huey CSAR units in September 1987 closed a valuable pipeline of CSAR trained aircrew members and limited the combat rescue role to a four overseas HH 3E Jolly Green Giant units and a US based MH 60G special operations capable Pave Hawk squadron. The CSAR assets were successfully utilized to support operations in the former Yugoslavia and Central America.   

ARRS was reorganized and reestablished as the Air Rescue Service ARS in August 1989 at McClellan AFB California under Military Airlift Command MAC and new HH 60 Pave Hawk helicopters began replacing the HH 3E Jolly Green Giants. Following Operation Desert Storm in 1991 and with the end of the Cold War a major USAF reorganization created Air Mobility Command for all airlift assets and established new Air Force Special Operations Command AFSOC for all special operations assets and with McClellan AFB earmarked for closure in 1993 ARS was again disestablished on 2 July 1993 with ARS redesignated USAF Combat Rescue School CRQS assigned to 57th Wing at Nellis AFB with most of its CSAR assets transferred to the newly established Air Combat Command and forward based CSAR assets in Europe and the Pacific were transferred to USAFE and PACAF. USAF Combat Rescue School CRQS was inactivated with its HH 60G functions absorbed by USAF Weapons School on 7 July 1995. All CSAR units were included within the USAF Air Expeditionary Force concept with assets available for deployment as Expeditionary Squadrons providing personnel and equipment to combat operations in Iraq Afghanistan and Africa.

In October 2003 the US based CSAR was realigned from ACC to Air Force Special Operations Command AFSOC which split a Squadrons HH 60 Pave Hawk helicopter flight the HC 130 Combat King flight and the Pararescuemen flight into separate specialist Squadrons. CSAR was transferred back from AFSOC to ACC in 2005 with forward based CSAR assets in Europe and the Pacific remaining with USAFE and PACAF.


This patch dates from 1990








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