Lakenheath rescue squadron to split into 2 units

Senior Master Sgt. Brandon Casteel, 56th Rescue Squadron operations superintendent, rappels from an HH-60G Pave Hawk during a combat search and rescue exercise at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, on Thursday, April 17, 2014. The unit is splitting off its pararescue personnel to form the 57th Rescue Squadron on Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015.


By ADAM L. MATHIS | STARS AND STRIPES Published: February 17, 2015

RAF MILDENHALL, England — Pararescue airmen will get their own unit, the 57th Rescue Squadron, at a unit activation ceremony Wednesday at RAF Lakenheath.

The move is structural and will not involve any change in the number of personnel or aircraft stationed at Lakenheath, the Air Force said.

The new squadron will take the pararescuemen from the existing 56th Rescue Squadron. The HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter pilots and maintainers will remain with the 56th.

“The change ... aligns the personnel recovery function within U.S. Air Forces in Europe to the standard Air Force structure,” officials said in a release.

After operating for almost 20 years out of Iceland, the 56th started moving to Lakenheath in 2006. The unit’s personnel have since provided support to U.S. servicemembers in Afghanistan and have helped rescue sailors near the United Kingdom.

In 2014, four airmen with the unit were killed after their helicopter struck a flock of geese near the Norfolk coastline.

Twitter: @AMathisStripes


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