Pararescuemen assigned to the 31st Rescue Squadron at Kadena Air Base, Japan, climb into an HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter during exercise Cope Angel 09-1 in Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Chad Warren)
Staff Sgt. Demian Abel scans the horizon for potential threats to his HH-60G Pave Hawk crew during a medical evacuation mission, Jan. 10, 2010, over Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. Sergeant Abel is a pararescueman with the 66th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Manuel J. Martinez)
A pararescueman fast ropes from an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter to join a team member in a proficiency exercise outside of Baghdad, Iraq. They are assigned to the 64th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. James L. Harper Jr.)
An HH-60 Pave Hawk picks up pararescuemen and three "survivors" during Angel Thunder 2010 April 15, 2010, in the desert surrounding Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., The pararescuemen are from the New York Air National Guard's 103rd Rescue Squadron in Long Island, N.Y. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Joshua L. DeMotts)
Staff Sgt. Kevin Myerscough enters the water after jumping from an HH-60G Pave Hawk while Master Sgt. Michael Atkins gives the safe thumbs-up and Senior Airman Brent Moore provides oversight June 3 near Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas. The members of the 48th Rescue Squadron from Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., were participating in Exercise Resolute Angel in preparation for the upcoming hurricane season. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Heather Cabral)
Background: Air Force Combat Rescue Officers (CROs) lead the Department of Defense's (DoD) only elite ground combat force specifically organized, trained, equipped, and postured to conduct full spectrum Personnel Recovery (PR) to include both conventional and unconventional combat rescue operations. Furthermore, CROs are trained as the DoD's joint PR planners and integrators of choice; serving on staffs and in coordination cells around the globe. These Battlefield Airmen officers are the most highly trained and versatile PR specialists in the world. CROs lead the Guardian Angel weapon system: including Pararescuemen and SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape) Specialists serving the active duty Air Force, in the Air Force Reserves, and in the Air National Guard. Their motto: "That Others May Live... To Return With Honor."
To rescue, recover, and return American or Allied personnel in times of danger or extreme duress, at war and in peace. To prepare personnel at high risk of isolation or capture and to reintegrate those isolated personnel, allowing them to return with honor to their families and units. "Leave no Airman, Marine, Soldier, or Sailor behind" is our nation's supreme promise and its responsibility to our brave warfighters. The Air Force holds true to this moral obligation. Personnel Recovery is an Air Force Core Function; one of twelve essential competencies the Air Force pledges to the nation. CROs lead the guardians that bear this noble responsibility.
CRO qualifications and capabilities are extensive. All CROs are qualified experts in Advanced Weapons and Small Unit Tactics, Airborne and Military Free Fall parachute operations, Combat Dive and Sub-surface Search and Recovery operations, Technical Rescue operations (High Angle, Extrication, and Confined Space), Small Boat and Watercraft utilization, Rescue Swimming, Command and Control and Incident Management. They are trained to fast rope, rappel, or hoist from any vertical lift aircraft to both land and open ocean rescue objectives.
Responsibilities: CROs provide command and control for Guardian Angel recovery teams performing as aircrew or surface elements to assault, secure, and dominate the rescue objective area; providing a rapid response capability in all environments across the range of military operations. CROs control terminal area operations during mission execution, including the coordination of trauma care, the conduct of supporting fires, and the evacuation of isolated personnel. Following recovery, CROs conduct reintegration operations. At the operational level, CROs create PR guidance and instructions in support of joint, coalition, and interagency operations. To that end, CROs perform deliberate and crisis action planning. CROs conduct and evaluate PR policy, plans, and programs, provide battle staff expertise, and manage theater PR operations.
Created on Dec. 8, 2000; these elite warriors have already directed more than 12,000 lifesaving, combat rescue missions since their career field's inception. Additionally, because of their unique capabilities, they have been called upon to lead the rescue of more than 5,000 civilians worldwide during catastrophic natural disasters and other humanitarian responses over that same period.