212th Rescue Squadron (212 RQS)

The busiest rescue force in the Department of Defense, the 212th Rescue Squadron provides elite pararescuemen (PJs), combat rescue officers (CROs) and Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) specialists to carry out the 176th Wing's wartime and peacetime rescue missions.

* PJs and CROs are the Air Force's equivalent of Army Special Forces and Navy SEALs: highly trained and motivated specialists who endure an incredibly grueling training process to earn the right to wear the distinctive flash on their hard earned beret.

* SERE specialists provide effective, realistic training for the PJs and CROs; plan training missions; and serve as subject-matter experts for PJs, CROs, aircrew and other Department of Defense personnel for all Personnel Recovery missions.

All these unit members are organized, trained and equipped to operate day or night in all geographic and environmental conditions, and in environments both friendly and hostile.

Wartime Mission

When in a theater of combat, members of the 212th are experts in Personnel Recovery Operations (PRO) -- rescuing isolated personnel from enemy territory as well as various recovery missions . 

Peacetime Mission

Back at home, the 212th Rescue Squadron is part of a network of search-and-rescue organizations that save hundreds of lives in and around Alaska every year. This network includes not only the 212th's sister squadrons in the 176th Wing, but also such agencies as the U.S. Coast Guard, the Alaska State Troopers, the National Park Service, the Civil Air Patrol and others. 

This peacetime mission is not limited to Alaska. Following the 2005 Pakistan Earthquake, for example, 212 RQS specialists jumped into action. Operating from helicopters belonging to the U.S. Army, Navy and State Department, they helped evacuate tens of thousands of survivors; delivered tons of food, water, blankets and other relief supplies; provided search-and-rescue support; transported the sick and injured; and treated victims. We have also deployed to numerous hurricanes in the Lower 48.


CROs and PJs are some of the most highly trained specialists in the entire Department of Defense. Their initial training course alone includes:

· Pararescue/Combat Rescue Officer Indoctrination Course 
· Army Airborne Static line Parachutist School 
· Army Free Fall Parachutist School 
· Army Special Forces Combat Diver School 
· Air Force Combat Survival School 
· Water Survival School 
· Navy Underwater Egress Training 
· Paramedic School 
· Pararescue/Combat Rescue Officer Apprentice Course 
· Advanced Parachuting 
· Mountain Rescue 
· Combat Tactics 
· Field Medicine 
· Aerial Operations 

Why is personnel recovery so important?

Personnel recovery is an issue of national importance. Preserving the lives and well-being of U.S. service members in danger of isolation or capture overseas is one of the Department of Defense's highest priorities. This high priority is based on four enduring principles:

(1) Americans place great value on the sanctity of human life. When the President commits forces overseas, America has a moral obligation to do everything in its power to bring its people home safely.

(2) It is important that our Armed Forces personnel know that if they become isolated, we will recover them. This knowledge gives them confidence and a willingness to exert their utmost in times of great stress.

(3) When our armed forces possess an effective personnel recovery capability, we deny enemies a valuable source of intelligence and political leverage against our government.

(4) Our highly trained soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and DoD civilians are a valuable and limited resource which we cannot afford to lose.


In 1990, responsibility for rescue in the Alaska theater transferred from the Air Force's 71st Air Rescue Squadron to the Alaska Air National Guard. To carry out this mission, the Guard created the 210th Rescue Squadron as part of the Anchorage-based 176th Wing. The new squadron proudly traced its lineage back to World War II, when the Army Air Force's 10th Emergency Boat Rescue Squadron patrolled the Aleutian chain and Alaska's coastal waters. As a tribute to these forebears, the new rescue squadron was christened the 210th, meaning "the second Tenth Rescue Squadron."

From 1990 to 2004, the 210th included all elements of the 176th Wing's rescue package: helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft and the rescuers themselves. This changed in 2004, when the 210th was split into the 210th, 211th and 212th rescue squadrons. The 210th kept the eight HH-60 Pavehawk search-and-rescue helicopters; the 211th now flies four HC-130 search-and-rescue aircraft; and, as noted above, the 212th supplies highly trained PJs, CROs and SERE specialists. Personnel from these three units work as a team to carry out rescue and training missions.

Since its inception, the 212th (and before that, the 210th Pararescue Team) has been a career field leader in several aspects of rescue. As of the end of 2009, the squadron is credited with more than 780 saves, and assisting on another 260 rescues. It has been in the forefront of developing and fielding the Military Tandem Tether Bundle (MTTB) program, and currently has three qualified tandem masters. From combat operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Africa, Bosnia, Turkey and Kuwait; to humanitarian operations in Pakistan and hurricane response along the Gulf Coast; to training in Arctic and mountain operations, the unit is the total package and continues an outstanding lineage. Squadron personnel have received numerous awards for their actions, including Bronze Stars, Combat Action Medals and Airman's Medals. 

Parent Unit

The 212th and its sister rescue squadrons together form the 176th Operations Group, one of four groups (Operations, Maintenance, Medical and Mission Support) that in turn make up the 176th Wing.

Subsidiary Units

Like any specialists, the 212th's rescuers need support to carry out their mission. The squadron provides much of this support via its own Combat Support Team, which includes specialists in aircrew flight equipment, supply, host aviation resource management, information management, logistics, medicine (flight doctor, medical logistics and independent duty medical technicians), and vehicle maintenance. Together, these combat support professionals provide the rescuers with vital daily training and the highly specialized equipment the rescuers depend on to save lives. 


Commercial: (907) 551-1699
DSN: 317-551-1699


17455 Airlifter Drive
JBER, AK 99605

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