The United States Air Force (USAF) announced today, 6 November, that the 56th and 57th Rescue Squadrons from RAF Lakenheath, UK are relocating to Aviano Air Base, Italy starting in 2017.
These squadrons of aircraft, aircrew, Guardian Angel Weapons Systems and support personnel will relocate to Aviano Air Base starting in fiscal year 2017. This includes five HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters and approximately 350 personnel in an effort to establish an enduring Personnel Recovery location within Europe.
“This relocation of our rescue airmen places them in a more strategic location to respond across Africa, Europe, and Southwest Asia,” said Gen. Frank Gorenc, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander. “We always take a serious, pragmatic look at how we can most effectively meet our commitments and guarantee the shared security of the United States and our allies and partners.”
The move is expected to take two to three years to complete.
During the European Infrastructure Consolidation review, programmers found excess capacity at Aviano. Part of the additional space was designated for the 56th and 57th RQSs, who deploy around the world to recover personnel from the most difficult and hostile conditions imaginable.
Construction decisions and transition milestones for the relocation will take place over the next several years.
Featured image: A pair of 210th Rescue Squadron HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters fly over Alaska on a training mission (Image © Master Sgt. Sean Mitchell / Alaska Air National Guard)