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New Combat Rescue Group stands up in Arizona

OPERATION SOUTHERN WATCH  -- Two HH-60G Pave Hawks fly in formation during a training mission in the area of responsibility at an operating location in support of Operation Southern Watch. Pave Hawk rescue equipment includes a hoist capable of lifting a 600-pound load from a hover height of 200 feet, and a personnel locating system. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dave Nolan)

OPERATION SOUTHERN WATCH -- Two HH-60G Pave Hawks fly in formation during a training mission in the area of responsibility at an operating location in support of Operation Southern Watch. Pave Hawk rescue equipment includes a hoist capable of lifting a 600-pound load from a hover height of 200 feet, and a personnel locating system. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dave Nolan)

LUNGI, Sierra Leone -- An HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter prepares to land after training here.  The helicopter is assigned to the 56th Rescue Squadron and is deployed with the 398th Air Expeditionary Group in Senegal.  (U. S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Justin D. Pyle)

LUNGI, Sierra Leone -- An HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter prepares to land after training here. The helicopter is assigned to the 56th Rescue Squadron and is deployed with the 398th Air Expeditionary Group in Senegal. (U. S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Justin D. Pyle)

BASA AIR BASE, Philippines -- An HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter from the 33rd Rescue Squadron, Kadena Air Base, Japan, lands here to evacuate "injured" personnel from a cargo aircraft "accident" during a joint US/Philippine mass casualty exercise during Balikatan 2001. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Val Gempis)

BASA AIR BASE, Philippines -- An HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter from the 33rd Rescue Squadron, Kadena Air Base, Japan, lands here to evacuate "injured" personnel from a cargo aircraft "accident" during a joint US/Philippine mass casualty exercise during Balikatan 2001. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Val Gempis)

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- The 943rd Rescue Group became Air Force Reserve Command’s newest unit when it was officially activated at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Feb. 12. 

The Air Force activated the rescue group “to allow for better management efficiency of Air Force resources,” said AFRC officials. They said the Air Force will continue to look for better ways to organize units and use new technologies.

The group belongs to the 920th Rescue Wing at Patrick AFB, Fla., and Air Force Special Operations Command is the gaining major command.

Col. Michael Shook commands the group. He previously commanded the 305th Rescue Squadron, which is now part of the group. The 305th flies HH-60 Blackhawk helicopters.

Also in the group is the newly formed 306th RQS, which is made up of pararescue specialists who are commonly known as PJs. Other units at Davis-Monthan are the 943rd Maintenance Squadron, 943rd Mission Support Flight, 943rd Operations Support Flight and 943rd Aeromedical Flight.

Another squadron of PJs is in Portland, Ore. The 304th RQS previously reported to the 920th RQW at Patrick.

“As the 305th Rescue Squadron grows to become part of the 943rd Rescue Group, our Citizen Airmen will continue to provide the capability of performing day and night combat rescues in hostile territories,” Colonel Shook said. “When available, our combat rescue organization will offer the same local rescue support the citizens of Arizona have relied on for more than 20 years — first as the 71st Special Operations Squadron and then as the 305th Rescue Squadron.”

The 943rd RQG traces its roots to the 943rd Tactical Airlift Group, which inactivated in June 1993 at March AFB, Calif. In 1963 the group was a troop carrier group. «

(Sergeant Zarzyczny is assigned to the 943rd RQG public affairs office at Davis-Monthan AFB.)

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