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56 Rescue Squadron - USAFE
 

Touchdown AviationThe 56th Air Rescue and Recovery Squadron activated on May 1, 1988, on NAS Keflavik, Iceland, assigned to the 39th Special Operations Wing, Eglin AFB, Florida. On 1 April 1989, it was reassigned to the 41st Rescue and Weather Reconnaissance Wing, McClellan AFB, California.

Redesignated as the 56th Air Rescue Squadron on 1 June 1989 and then reassigned to the Air Rescue Service on 1 August 1989. On February 1, 1993, the 56th Rescue Squadron (56RQS) was redesignated and assigned under the Air Forces Iceland, under Air Combat Command. On July 1, 1995, it was reassigned to the 85th Group.

Although Iceland had some form of rescue operations, there were no continuous units assigned or attached until Detachment 14 of the 39th Air Rescue and Recovery Wing arrived on 1 November 1971. On 8 November 1971, three Sikorsky HH-3Es, Jolly Green Giants arrived on NAS Keflavik to become a permanent fixture. The unit's first mission took place on 16 November 1971 when the Icelandic Lifesaving Association requested the airlift of a nine-year old boy suffering from epileptic seizures. Detachment 14 was credited with 236 saves and hundreds of assists.

In 1992, the 56th RQS was the only unit to convert from the HH-3, Jolly Green Giant, to the HH-60G Pave Hawk, and maintain a continuous SAR alert status. The transition began in the fall of 1991, and the HH-60G assumed alert duties on 14 February 1992.

In 1995, when the Icelandic Coast Guard purchased a helicopter with a similar range as the IDF helicopters, the importance of the role of the 56th was reduced and its rescue missions decreased. In the light of the US withdrawal from Iceland the 56th RQS relocated from NAS Keflavik to RAF Lakenheath in March 2006.

The 56thsquadron, now part of the 48th FW provides North Atlantic theater rescue, combat rescue and reaction force response services for the 48th FW and combatant commanders. Next to that it is on standby for UK resque missions if requested.

HH-60G Pave Hawk - 89-26208/LN - 56 Rescue Squadron - United States Air Forces in Europe
 

The individual aircraft:

HH-60G Pave Hawk - 89-26205/LN - 56 Rescue Squadron - United States Air Forces in Europe HH-60G Pave Hawk - 89-26205   HH-60G Pave Hawk - 89-26206 /LN - 56 Rescue Squadron - United States Air Forces in Europe HH-60G Pave Hawk - 89-26206   HH-60G Pave Hawk - 89-26208/LN - 56 Rescue Squadron - United States Air Forces in Europe HH-60G Pave Hawk - 89-26208   HH-60G Pave Hawk - 89-26212/LN - 56 Rescue Squadron - United States Air Forces in Europe HH-60G Pave Hawk - 89-26212
 
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