56th RQS/HMU return from deployment

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Caleb House
  • 31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The 56th Rescue Squadron recently returned to Aviano Air Base after deploying downrange earlier this year. 

After officially relocating to the 31st Fighter Wing in June 2018, the rescue squadron deployed in May 2019 in support of Central Command. 

 “The primary mission of the 56th Rescue Squadron is combat search and rescue [CSAR]. The secondary mission is joint personnel recovery,” said Lt. Col. Leslie Semrau, 56th Rescue Squadron commander. “When deploying to the CENTCOM area of responsibility both of those missions come into play for us.”

The CSAR aspect includes watching all air assets that are employed in the AOR including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets, strike assets, and refuelling assets. As for joint personnel recovery, that covers members and assets working on the ground.

The 56th Helicopter Maintenance Unit deployed alongside the rescue squadron. To ensure the HH-60G Pave Hawks were ready to take off at a moment’s notice, the 56th HMU was crucial to the mission downrange. 

“Thanks to our HMU personnel,” said Master Sgt. Douglas Souza, 56th RQS operations superintendent. “Our 56th HMU [personnel] are awesome. [They] provide us safe reliable aircraft all the time.”

“From the moment the 56th Rescue Squadron had a priority to deploy in support of CENTCOM, the wing was absolutely outstanding,” said Semrau. “They were truly focused on what the actual members of the squadron needed and also what the families needed, as well.”

“Thank you to the 31st Fighter Wing and all the entities across the 31st Fighter Wing.”