Air Commandos from the 67th Special Operations Squadron (SOS) trained alongside their brethren from the 56th and 57th Air Rescue Squadrons (RQS) in Croatia, honing their personnel recovery skills. The 67th SOS flies the MC-130J Commando II, which offers special operations infiltration, exfiltration and resupply capabilities.
“Personnel recovery is not one of our core missions or mission essential tasks, however, being forward-staged makes us able to assist in personnel recovery missions in the European theatre,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Marty Weeks, commander of the 67th SOS, according to DVIDS. “Especially since the 56th (and 57th) RQS relocated from RAF Lakenheath to Aviano Air Base, our opportunities to work with them have become more infrequent.”
Air Rescue Squadrons are mainly composed of the helicopter crews and pararescuemen. Often, they are augmented by other specialized airmen such as the Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape (SERE) airmen who are experts in fieldcraft. Air Rescue Squadrons fall under the Air Combat Command and they specialize in personnel recovery.
Special Tactics Squadrons, on the other hand, are composed of combat controllers, pararescuemen, special operations weather technicians — soon to be special reconnaissance — and tactical air control party airmen, who are experts in close air support. Special Tactics Squadrons fall under the Air Force Special Operations Command and cover a wide range of roles, including combat search and rescue, close air support, air traffic control, airfield operations, and special reconnaissance.