|56th Rescue Squadron|
|Active||1952–1960; 1972–1975; 1988-present|
|Branch||United States Air Force|
|Role||Search and Rescue|
|Part of||United States Air Forces in Europe - Air Forces Africa|
|Garrison/HQ||Aviano Air Base|
|Decorations||Presidential Unit Citation (United States)|
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm
|56th Rescue Squadron emblem (approved 31 March 1989)|
The 56th Rescue Squadron is part of the 31st Fighter Wing, Aviano Air Base, Italy. The squadron was previously assigned to the 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath, England. It operates HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters conducting search and rescue missions.
The 56th Rescue Squadron is a combat-ready search and rescue squadron of HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters capable of executing all-weather search and rescue missions day or night in hostile environments in support of USAFE, USEUCOM, and NATO operations. It employs a state-of-the-art communications and navigation system along with advanced search and rescue equipment. The squadron is capable of deploying to any theater of operations in the world.
It flew combat missions in Southeast Asia from, 10 July 1972 – 15 August 1973, to include search and rescue, airborne mission control, and aerial refueling. The squadron continued to perform local search and rescue until February 1975. On 1 April 1972 the 39th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron was inactivated and its aircraft and crews temporarily became part of Detachment 4 of the 3d Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Group at Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base. On 8 July 1972 the detachment was replaced by the 56th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron.
Operations from Iceland and the United Kingdom
- Constituted as the 56th Air Rescue Squadron on 17 October 1952
- Activated on 14 November 1953
- Discontinued and inactivated on 18 March 1960
- Activated on 8 July 1972
- Redesignated 56th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron on 10 July 1972
- Inactivated on 15 October 1975
- Activated on 1 May 1988
- Redesignated 56th Air Rescue Squadron on 1 June 1989
- Redesignated 56th Rescue Squadron on 1 February 1993.
- 7th Air Rescue Group, 14 November 1952 (attached to 5th Air Division until 28 February 1953)
- 12th Air Rescue Group, 8 December 1956
- Air Rescue Service, 18 February 1958 - 18 March 1960 (attached European Rescue Operations Center)[note 1]
- 3d Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Group, 8 July 1972
- 41st Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Wing (later 41st Rescue and Weather Reconnaissance Wing, 20 Aug 1972-15 Oct 1975 (attached to 3d Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Group)
- 39th Special Operations Wing, 1 May 1988
- 41st Rescue and Weather Reconnaissance Wing, 1 April 1989
- Air Rescue Service, 1 August 1989
- Air Forces Iceland, 1 February 1993
- 35th Operations Group, 31 May 1993
- 85th Operations Group, 1 October 1994
- 85th Group, 1 July 1995
- 48th Operations Group, 28 June 2006 – April 
- 31st Operations Group, May 2018 – present
- Sidi Slimane Air Base, French Morocco], 14 November 1952 – 18 March 1960
- Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, 8 July 1972 – 15 October 1975
- Naval Air Station Keflavik, Iceland, 1 May 1988
- RAF Lakenheath, England, 1 June 2006 – April 2018 
- Aviano Air Base, Italy, May 2018 – present
- Sikorsky H-5 Dragonfly (1952–1953)
- Grumman SA-16 Albatross (1952–1960)
- Douglas SC-47 Skytrain (1953–1956)
- Sikorsky SH-19 (1953–1960)
- Lockheed HC-130 Hercules (1972–1975)
- Kaman HH-43 Huskie (1972–1975)
- Sikorsky HH-3 Jolly Green Giant (1988–1992)
- Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk (1992 – present)
- The European Rescue Operations Center was a named activity. Organizationally, it was Detachment 3, 8th Air Rescue Group until 18 March 1959, then Detachment 3, Air Rescue Service. See Robertson, 56 Rescue Squadron Factsheet
- Robertson, Patsy (6 May 2013). "Factsheet 56 Rescue Squadron (USAFE)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
- Rempfer, Kyle (15 May 2018). "US Air Force rescue units move closer to Africa and Eastern Europe". Air Force Times. Retrieved 21 May 2018.
- Dunham, p. 115
- Tilford, p. 154
- Miller, Nathanael L. "U.S. Air Force Gets Underway on USS Ponce". GlobalSecurity.com. Retrieved 15 November 2016. (from Navy News Service)
- Dunham, George R. (1990). U.S. Marines in Vietnam: The Bitter End, 1973-1975. Marine Corps Vietnam Operational Historical Series. Quantico VA: Marine Corps Association. ISBN 978-0-16-026455-9.
- Tilford, Earl H. Jr. (1992). Search and Rescue in Southeast Asia (PDF). USAF in Southeast Asia. Bolling AFB, DC: Center for Air Force History. ISBN 978-1782664284. LCCN 92-37232. Retrieved 19 December 2015.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to 56th Rescue Squadron (United States).|
- "Fact Sheets: 48th Operations Group". 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs. 1 August 2013. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
- Gallahan, SSG Nathan (11 September 2007). "Getting settled: 56th RQS ready for action". 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 15 November 2016.