Aviano's Angels: Inside the USAF's 56th Rescue Squadron

The 56th Rescue Squadron (RQS) has spent more than three years at Aviano Air Base in Italy, where the unit has capitalised on the installation's conditions and strategic position, as Riccardo Niccoli reports.

Of all the units assigned to the US Air Force in Europe’s (USAFE) 31st Fighter Wing housed at Aviano Air Base, the youngest is the 56th RQS. Transferred from RAF Lakenheath in the UK in May 2018, the relocation was not a simple undertaking and required complex planning and around one year to complete. The unit is the only one of its kind within the USAFE and its new location was intended to place it in a more central position on the continent, closer to the Mediterranean and Balkan areas than Great Britain and therefore nearer to possible future operations.

56th RQS HH-60G Pave Hawk [USAFE/Tech Sgt Rebecca Woodrow]
A 56th RQS-operated HH-60G Pave Hawk conducts embarking and disembarkation training operations on the field in the Tagliamento river area. USAFE/Tech Sgt Rebecca Woodrow


Roles at home and abroad

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