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HERITAGE OF THE COMBAT SEARCH AND RESCUE PROFESSIONALS
Early Air Rescue
United States Air Force (USAF) Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) as known in the 21st century, has its roots in late World War I, the 1920-30S, and the build up for World War II (WWII) prior to 7 December 1941. There are references to Army Air Service/Air Corps medical evacuation aircraft and crash rescue boats from 1918 to 1940.
Early in WWII, the most effective combat search and rescue organization, the German Rescue Service, was operated by the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) in its struggle against the British Royal Air Force (RAF). The German Rescue Service used boats and seaplanes to rescue crews and introduced survival gear that became standard for Allied airmen. Bright green dye markers, portable radios, rubber dinghies, and the use of highly visible yellow coloring for dinghies, skullcaps, and flotation jackets were part of the Luftwaffe contribution. The RAF learned the value of CSAR during the Battle of Britain when the supply of British pilots was critical to the victory over the Luftwaffe. By the end of August 1940, the British Royal Navy and RAF were forming a joint organization, utilizing systematic communications, and devising search and survival procedures to rescue downed aircrew at sea. The German Rescue Service and the RAF Air/Sea Rescue Service proved to be tremendous morale builders for combat aircrews.
World War II European Theater
The United States Army Air Force (USAAF) started WWII with virtually no CSAR assets and aircrews who had little survival training or gear. The advent of large American bomber, fighter, and transport fleets operating worldwide forced a requirement on the USAAF to organize a program to search and rescue crashed airmen on an international scale. Under the personal guidance of General Henry H. "Hap" Arnold, the USAAF initiated a rescue program.
By September of 1942, in the European Theater of Operations (ETO), it was decided that the Americans would participate
in the RAF's existing Air/Sea Rescue organization. Like the RAF, the USAAF featured radio "fixer stations" to locate distressed aircraft and "spotter" fighter planes to quickly find the crews and drop immediate CSAR equipment. By June 1943, American "fixers" at Hornchurch, England, and P-47 "spotters" of Detachment B, 65th Fighter Wing were active in rescue operations. On4July 1943, the first "all American" CSAR mission in the ETO was accomplished. Later, the town of Saffron Walden, England, became the home of USAAF Rescue personnel as operations grew in scope, size, and complexity. By January 1945, the value of this small American CSAR effort was recognized with the establishment of the 5th Emergency Rescue Squadron (ERS). This composite organization operated P-47 "spotter/patrol" fighters, OA-10 Catalina patrol and rescue amphibians, and B-17 "Dumbos" for dropping lifeboats and rescue gear. The 5 ERS remained active, and it conducted many saves until the end of hostilities.
World War II Mediterranean Theater
By 1943, an American ad hoc rescue squadron was built in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO) around a handful of OA-10 Catalinas and USAAF amphibian pilots obtained from training at Pensacola and Jacksonville Naval Air Stations (NAS), Florida. This small unit operated under control of the RAF out of Malta and later Bizerte. It supported the invasion of Sicily and bombing missions out of North Africa and recorded 56 saves. This original rescue detachment left the Mediterranean in December of 1943 to form the cadre of instructors for the USAAF Emergency Rescue School at Keesler Field, Mississippi.
The 1st Emergency Rescue Squadron (ERS) formed in October 1943 at Boca Raton, Florida, with well-trained USAAF crews who had graduated from the Jacksonville and Pensacola Naval Air Stations seaplane training programs. The excellent training, new aircraft, and full complement of personnel were the foundation for a first class rescue squadron commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Littleton J. Pardue. The 1 ERS was a composite unit with nine OA-10 Catalinas, three L-5 light planes, and three B-25 bombers and it was transferred to Casablanca in the middle of March 1944. Later it gained four B-17 rescue planes. It was active throughout the Mediterranean until the surrender of the Germans in April 1945. It supported the bombing campaign of Europe, the invasion of Southern France, racked up 244 saves, and thus earned the Presidential Unit Citation.
All combat theaters of WWII had American rescue boat squadrons that originally belonged to the Army Quartermaster. Later in the war, this rescue function was transferred to the USAAF. The equipment of the rescue boat crews ranged from 16-foot swamp gliders and 22-foot shallow draft boats to seagoing vessels up to 104 feet in length. The USAAF eventually developed a standard 85-foot rescue boat. The boat crews were trained at New Orleans Army Base, Louisiana, starting in February 1943. By early 1944 the rescue boat school and the Aircrew Training Branch were merged at Keesler Field, Mississippi, to form the AAF Emergency Rescue School. This school eventually trained at least ninety-five boat crews and many aircrews. From 1943 on, in the Mediterranean, operating under British control and at times alongside the 1 ERS, were the 5th, 8th, 11th, and 12th USAAF Emergency Rescue (ER) boat crews. Sadly, the work of the boat crews in the MTO was restricted by the size of their boats and lack of equipment and thus they were not used in the most efficient manner.
World War II Pacific Theater
Air Rescue in the Pacific and the China, Burma, India (CBI) Theater was more difficult than in Europe due to the terrain, great distances, and the island hopping offensive nature of the conflict. Except for the CBI, the Pacific did not have the advantage of an efficient and effective British organization already established on which to build an American effort.
Starting in December of 1942, Major John H. Small, Jr. of the 5th Fighter Command in New Guinea, began to work survival and rescue issues for 5th Air Force. By July of 1943, his small ad hoc team was directing air searches for missing crews and later in August of 1943 he received four OA-1 0s on which to organize a small rescue service. By the end of April 1944, his cobbled together unit had saved 455 downed airmen.
The 2 ERS was the first of the ER School graduate units to see combat when it arrived on Biak Island off the coast of New Guinea, in July of 1944. Shortly after its first rescues save, Major Small's small unit of Catalinas and personnel was transferred to the 2 ERS. During the first six months of 2 ERS operations, 300 airmen were saved.
Two emergency rescue groups were soon formed in the Pacific similar to the organizations in the Mediterranean. This entailed combining aircraft squadrons and boat crews to form Rescue Composite Groups (RCG) by October 1944. As the Pacific war raged to a close, USAAF Emergency Rescue units worked jointly with Naval and Marine air and surface units to effect combat rescues of downed crewmen. The massive USAAF B-29 bombing campaign and Navy carrier strikes of mainland Japan and the numerous small island assaults by Naval air and surface forces produced a number of shot down crewmembers. Many times dozens of USAAF rescue aircraft and patrol boats served along side hundreds of Navy ships, planes, and submarines as they covered combat operations. The USAAF rescue boats of the Pacific were very effective.
In August 1945, a cooperative USAAF-Navy CSAR force of 48 amphibians, eight B-17s, and a number of B-29s covered the atomic strikes by the nuclear-armed B-29s of the 509th Bomb Group. This Air/Sea Rescue Task Group that supported the atomic missions had 152 surface vessels that also included a number of "Lifeguard" submarines just off the coast of Japan.
World War II China, Burma, India Theater
Meanwhile, the China, Burma, India (CBI) Theater, Captain John L. "Blackie" Porter put together a small ad hoc jungle rescue unit in October of 1943. Based at Chabua, India, the unit was called "Blackie's Gang" and consisted of aircrew, medical, and survival specialists that would go in by air or ground means to assist survivors of a crash involved in the "Hump" airlift.
Also in India, a small USAAF rescue detachment of OA-10s was attached to the RAF by the summer of 1944, to cover B-29 raids from the CBI. By March of 1945, a larger unit, the 7 ERS was in operation in India. United States Army Air Force CSAR efforts in India resulted in almost 79 percent of airmen who survived crashes or bailouts to make it home, for a total of 1,171 saves.
The 8 ERS arrived in China in May of 1945 with R-6 helicopters and C-47 search support aircraft. Designed for land rescue, the 8 ERS completed 43 saves in difficult, mountainous terrain that more than proved the value of the vertical lift R-6s.
World War II in the Arctic and Alaska
Rescue in the Arctic and Alaska in World War II posed special challenges. The "Bolero Movement," or deployment of aircraft across the North Atlantic via Greenland and Iceland, was the prelude to the USAAF bombing campaign of Nazi occupied Europe and Germany and the Allied invasion of Western Europe. Colonel Bert Balchen commanded Task Force 8 that supported this ferrying movement with communications, weather, logistics, and rescue expertise. Task Force 8 base, BW-8, was headquartered on Greenland's west coast high above the Arctic Circle and its crews endured some of the severest winds, cold, and weather ever encountered in flight or ground rescue operations. The joint rescue missions Colonel Balchen led were studies in human suffering, sacrifice, tragedy, and endurance that used B-17 bombers, Navy Catalinas, Coast Guard Grumman amphibian aircraft, motor sledges, dogsleds, and patrol boats.
The Alaskan/Aleutian Campaign also involved Air/Sea Rescue in some of the most remote locations and harshest weather ever experienced by USAAF aircrews. Initially, Navy Catalinas provided most of the rescue effort, but as combat with Japanese forces extended down the Aleutian chain of islands and as America supported the Russian war effort with Lend Lease planes being ferried across the Bering Strait, the USAAF built up rescue forces to cover these efforts. The Arctic Training School was activated in the summer of 1943 at Buckley, Colorado. This school produced the 1st Arctic Search and Rescue Squadron, which deployed to Greenland in 1944, the 3d Arctic Search and Rescue Squadron deployed to the North Atlantic Division, and the Alaskan Wing Squadron deployed to Alaska. In addition, the 10th Rescue Boat Squadron deployed to Elmendorf, Alaska. The units in Alaska used a variety of equipment including C-64 Nordless Norseman and L-5 Sentential light planes, OA-10s, C-47s equipped with rescue boats, and dogsleds.
Throughout WWII, almost all CSAR unit/weapon systems saw use in Commando and Special Operations Forces (SOF) missions and the reverse is also true. During 1944, the first ever helicopter combat rescue was accomplished by a 1st Air Commando Group (1 ACG) R-4 in Burma.
Post WWII Combat Rescue
Based on a study completed by Lieutenant General Hoyt S. Vandenberg after the end of hostilities in WWII, the Air Rescue Service(ARS) was stood up under Air Transport Command (ATC) on 13 March 1946 and based at Washington National Airport. In December of the year, Colonel Richard T. Kight took over command of ARS. Colonel Kight had been tasked to either build up ARS or shut it down. He became an avid supporter of the organization and implemented plans and programs that pushed for the improvement and expansion of the service and its rescue culture. He wrote the rescue code and motto, created its emblem, and fought hard for more resources. In 1947, Colonel Kight also initiated the formal founding of USAF pararescue based on heroic precedents in WWII and soon medical parachute jumpers were added to ARS.
CSAR in the Korean War
In 1950, the development and growth of ARS was tested with the advent of the Korean War. Combat rescue in Korea demanded more equipment, personnel and aircraft than were available. Rescue Coordination Centers (RCC) were setup and long range SB-29 Dumbos and new SA-16 amphibians quickly deployed to Korea.
Sikorsky H-5 and H-19 helicopters quickly proved their worth in the rough terrain of Korea in rescuing downed aircrew and saving trapped ground soldiers. Once again the L-5 Sentinel liaison aircraft, along with helicopters, proved their worth as rescue and medical evacuation machines. This fast front line medical air evacuation capability reduced the Korean War mortality rate to half that of WWII.
One of the most active USAF CSAR squadrons of the Korean War was the 3d Air Rescue Squadron (ARS). The 3 ARS penetrated deep behind enemy lines under heavy enemy fire multiple times to rescue shot down aircrew. During the course of the Korean War, the ARS airlifted 9,680 personnel to safety, 9,219 of them by helicopter. Nine hundred and ninety-six were rescued behind enemy lines with 846 of these picked up by H-5 or H-19 helicopters.
The SA-16 Albatross amphibian also performed very well in the Korean War. The ARS also used the WWII rescue patrol boats to pick up shot down crews. As in WWII, almost all Korean War USAF CSAR units/weapon systems were used at one point or another in the conflict to support commando and special operations. The commandos and special operators also supported ARS. In addition, the Korean War ARS units had functioned more efficiently than the cobbled together WWII CSAR units.
Cold War Era
Following the Korean War, the USAF downsized and reorganized along with the Air Rescue Service. By 1954, ARS was composed of 12 groups and 38 squadrons throughout the world. The Air Rescue Service also reduced the types of aircraft in an effort to standardize and upgrade its equipment. The long-range plan was to have a maximum of two basic rescue aircraft, a long-range fixed wing plane and a high-powered helicopter with greater range and payload. The new SC-54 Rescuemaster and its remarkable MA-1 Air Rescue Kit (ARK) replaced the aging and hard to maintain B-17s and B-29s. The twin-engine amphibian SA-16 Albatross, which had proved so dependable and reliable, was improved, and the powerful SH-21 B tandem rotor helicopter was added to the fleet. Across the fleet improvements in communications, navigation gear, and radar greatly improved ARS capability. Also, during the peace between the Korean and Vietnam Wars, ARS performed multiple rescues worldwide of civilians and military personnel.
In 1958 USAF Search and Rescue changed from specialized area and compartmented operations to a global concept of standardized procedures and operations. This resulted in a 1959 reorganization that supported a USAF global aircrew recovery program.
During 1960, 14 air rescue squadrons were inactivated and by the end of the year ARS had three squadrons and 1,450 personnel. Yet concurrently, the USAF proposed new missions for ARS such as operating rescue centers within the United States, joint overseas centers, and local base rescue (LBR). By December of 1961, ARS was increased from three to ten air rescue squadrons and assigned the local base rescue mission with 70 LBR elements or detachments worldwide and 148 helicopters assigned for the new mission from other commands.
By early 1961 the ARS began to support all of the manned National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) space flights from the Mercury Program through the 2004 Space Shuttle Flights. Contingency recovery operations were worked for manned as well as some unmanned flights. Missions of note include the recovery of Astronaut Scott Carpenter and his Aurora 7 Mercury spacecraft after landing 250 miles from recovery ships. Two pararescuemen jumped from an ARS SC-54 and secured astronaut Carpenter and the capsule until pickup by the USS Intrepid. During the Gemini program, a three-man pararescue team jumped from an HC-54 and secured the Gemini 8 spacecraft after its emergency splashdown with astronauts Neil A. Armstrong and David R. Scott.
Active duty and Reserve ARS units also participated in the Cuban Missile Crisis in the fall of 1962. Rescue HH-43, HC-54, and HU-16 aircraft deployed to bases in Florida to cover possible CSAR missions in the event of the outbreak of hostilities. Air Rescue Service units operated throughout the Caribbean area during this crisis.
Southeast Asia War
Following the Gulf of Tonkin Incident on 2 August 1964, four ARS provisional detachments were organized for service in Vietnam and Thailand to support the impending war in Southeast Asia (SEA). The ARS crews were based at Bien Hoa and Da Nang Air Bases (AB) in Vietnam and Nakhon Phanom Airport and Korat AB in Thailand. During the SEA conflict, ARS and later Air Rescue and Recovery Service (ARRS) saved the lives of 4,120 personnel of which 2,780 were combat saves. On 20 September 1965, ARS lost its first aircraft to hostile fire in SEA when a HH-43 Pedro was shot down while searching for a downed USAF F-105 pilot.
In January 1965theARSwasredesignated the ARRS and Air Rescue Centers (ARC) became Air Rescue Recovery Centers and Air Rescue squadrons became Air Rescue Recovery squadrons. At the same time, the 3d Air Rescue Recovery Group was organized at Tan Son Nhut Airfield, Vietnam. It served until the end of the war in SEA, accruing 16 campaign streamers, five Presidential Unit Citations (PUC), two Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards (AFOUA), and two Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Crosses with Palm. Individual awards included two Medals of Honor and 38 Air Force Crosses.
Combat rescue crews flew along side Air Force Special Operations crews to support the Joint Son Tay Prisoner of War (POW) camp raid in 1970. The US Army and USAF Son Tay Raiders trained at Hurlburt and Duke Fields, near Eglin AFB, Florida. No prisoners were found, but the well-planned and daring raid is considered a classic on how to do personnel recovery operations.
In April of 1975, ARRS personnel and aircraft participated in the final acts of the SEA War as Operation EAGLE PULL, the American evacuation of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and Operation FREQUENT WIND, the American evacuation of Saigon, Vietnam, unfolded. Both operations were conducted in hostile conditions but there were no ARRS casualties or injuries.
A month later, ARRS crews flew combat missions in the recovery of the SS Mayaguez and its American crew from the Cambodian Kamer Rouge. During the course of the action, ARRS worked alongside Air Force SOF crews to deploy and then recover Marines on Koh Tang Island.
The SEA War inspired many technical developments that enhanced ARRS capability. Early 1960 development and employment into combat of the HH-3 Jolly Green and later the HH-53 Super Jolly Green helicopters were prime examples. The HH-53 had the size, range, speed, performance, armor protection, defensive systems, and guns to properly do the CSAR mission. By late 1966 air refueling of these same aircraft by HC-130 King Birds enhanced the range of ARRS. Also as early as 1966, the Fulton Surface-to-Air Recovery (STAR) system had been developed and successfully demonstrated one and two-man pickups. In 1967 the first Air-to-Air Recovery (ATAR) "Ash Can" mission was performed by ARRS when HC-130H aircraft were equipped to catch the high altitude-sampling device launched by the Air Weather Service (AWS). In 1967 two ARRS HH-3Es along with HC-130P support paralleled the original flight path of Charles A. Lindbergh as they made the first non-stop transatlantic helicopter flight. Transpacific flights of HH-53s with air refueling and enroute stops soon followed in 1970. Lessons from SEA also led to the development of the HH-53 Pave Low III night-all weather ARRS aircraft by
By 1972, fallout from the SEA War included ARRS becoming primarily oriented toward combat rescue operations. A sizeable reduction in the number of ARRS local base rescue elements and detachments occurred during 1973.
As ARRS moved further away from the heat of combat of the SEA War, the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC) was set up at Scott AFB, Illinois, in 1974. It served as a single focal point for the coordination and dissemination of rescue information for the contiguous US. Throughout the SEA War, ARRS conducted peacetime rescues worldwide. Most notable were the Turkish flood relief support in 1968 and the Tunisian flood relief support in 1969, and the American evacuations in Guyana, Iran, and Nicaragua.
Operation RICE BOWL/EAGLE CLAW
The April 1980 unsuccessful attempt to rescue American hostages from the United States Embassy in Iran resulted in disaster at the Desert One refueling site. The Air Force then gave the newly developed HH-53 Pave Low III helicopters of ARRS to the 1st Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field, Florida. Air Force SOF and ARRS worked hand in hand preparing for Operation HONEY BADGER, a second attempt to rescue the American hostages in Iran, but the raid was cancelled when the hostages were released.
Standup of 23d Air Force
In March 1983, Air Force leadership reorganized ARRS and USAF Special Operations under 23d Air Force at Scott AFB, Illinois, which was commanded by Major General William Mall. The ARRS and AFSOF communities operated separately under 23 AF and the 2d Air Division was set up at Hurlburt Field to focus on special operations. The USAF at this time also came up with a plan for ARRS to replace the HH-3 and remaining HH-53 helicopters with new UH-60 aircraft.
Major General Robert Patterson, who followed General Mall as 23 AF Commander, oversaw the transfer of HC-130M tankers and remaining HH-53s from ARRS to special operations in order to build up overseas SOF wings. By 1987, General Patterson had deactivated 2d Air Division and moved 23 AF to Hurlburt to complete consolidation of AF SOF forces. By 1990, the USAF replaced 23 AF with Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) at Hurlburt. In the meantime, in 1989 the ARRS was shut down and activated as the Air Rescue Service (ARS), it moved back to Military Airlift Command (MAC), and its headquarters transferred to McClellan AFB, California. The Air Force Rescue Coordination Center remained at Scott AFB, Illinois.
In 1990-91, the ARS units did not participate in Operations DESERT SHIELD/STORM (Gulf War I) because they were converting from the HH-3 to the UH-60 at the time. The AFSOC MH-60, MH-53 and HH-3 units that deployed for the operations assumed the CSAR role and participated in what successful rescues there were. Difficult and exposed desert terrain, high Iraqi threat envelopes, difficulty in locating shot down crews, complex border crossing politics, a hostile local populace, and difficult weather caused problems for CSAR in Operation DESERT STORM.
AMC to ACC
Following Operation DESERT STORM, there was much reorganization in the USAF. On 1 February 1993, ARS was transferred from the Air Mobility Command (AMC) to the Air Combat Command (ACC). All rescue units in the continental United States were realigned under ACC. Overseas rescue forces were transferred to their respective theater major commands. On 2 July of the same year, the ARS was redesignated the USAF Combat Rescue School and was assigned to the 57th Wing at Nellis AFB, Nevada.
Operations NORTHERN WATCH / SOUTHERN WATCH
The set up of Operation NORTHERN WATCH (ONW) in Turkey and Operation SOUTHERN WATCH (OSW) in Saudi Arabia around Iraq following Gulf War I required CSAR coverage. This was accomplished by ARS and AFSOC active duty and Air Reserve Component (ARC) units on a rotating basis until Operation IRAQI FREEDOM or Gulf War II in 2003.
NASA and POTUS Support
Rescue units, which had actively supported manned National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) missions in the 1980s also continued active support for NASA following Gulf War I. Space Shuttle launches and landings in the 1990s and into the 21st century required rescue support not only at the launch and landing sites but also at shuttle emergency landing areas worldwide. Rescue units were also tasked during this NASA Support time to provide emergency support for President of the United States (POTUS) during his many trips throughout the nation and the world.
From 1993 on, AFSOC and ARS worked together to provide adequate CSAR for North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and USAF operations in Bosnia and the former Yugoslavia. The AFSOC and CSAR rescue assets differed in procedures and expectations, equipment and training, and even experienced cultural differences between the active forces and ARC units. Despite all issues, the active and ARC, AFSOC, and ARS cultures overcame differences to provide CSAR via a good working spirit. Rotor and fixed wing HH/MH-60s, MH-53s, HC-130s and MC-130Ps saw duty supporting Bosnia Operations. Rescue had become very important for American and NATO forces in the Balkans as shot down crews became high stakes pawns in the power struggles. Early in the Bosnia effort, AFSOC units participated in the unsuccessful CSAR effort for a shot down French fighter crew but in 1999 they flew successful CSAR missions to retrieve shot down USAF F-1 17 and F-16 pilots.
Global War on Terrorism
The Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) started on 11 September 2001, and found USAF CSAR assets in much better condition then they had been in the previous ten years. Already veterans of Bosnia, ONW, and OSW, they were combat ready and experienced with their HH-60s and HC-130 aircraft. As the GWOT progressed through Operation ENDURING FREEDOM in Afghanistan and Operation IRAQI FREEDOM in Iraq, CSAR units added actual combat rescues and medical evacuations to their credit. Again, the active, ARC, ARS, and AFSOC cultures pooled resources to accomplish the mission. They suffered combat losses but provided the necessary CSAR cov- erage despite enemy threats under some of the most trying weather and geographical conditions. Forward deployed CSAR units also experienced some of the most primitive basing issues of any USAF organizations and yet accomplished their difficult missions.
AFSOC and CSAR Merge
Initiatives by the USAF Chief of Staff General John Jumper were carried out by the commander of AFSOC, Lieutenant General Paul Hester and stateside CSAR units were warmly welcomed into the AFSOC family on 1 October 2003. This merge increased the size of AFSOC by more than a third in personnel and aircraft and also gained ownership of AFSOC's second field, Moody AFB, Georgia. This merger of like cultures, weapon systems, logistical, training, operational and personnel issues began to show benefits almost immediately in increased combat capability.
Col. Wallace S. Ford 29 May 46 to 30 Nov 46
Col. Richard T. Kight 1 Dec 46 to 8 Jul 52
Col. J. C. Bailey 9 Jul 52 to 18 Aug 52
Brig. Gen. Thomas J. DuBos 19 Aug 52 to 31 Jul 59
Brig. Gen. Joseph A. Cunningham 1 Aug 59 to 21 Jun 63
Col. Theodore P. Tatum 22 Jun 63 to 1 Aug 63
Brig. Gen. Adriel N. Williams 1 Aug 63 to 7 Mar 65
Maj. Gen. Allison C. Brooks 8 Mar 65 to 23 Apr 70
Brig. Gen. Frank K. Everest, Jr 24 Apr 70 to 1 Mar 73
Brig. Gen. Glenn R. Sullivan 1 Mar 73 to 31 Jul 74
Maj. Gen. Ralph S. Saunders 1 Aug 74 to 28 Sep 79
Maj. Gen. Cornelius Nugteren 29 Sep 79 to 20 Aug 81
Maj. Gen. William J. Mall, Jr 21 Aug 81 to 28 Feb 83
Brig. Gen. Philip S. Prince 1 Mar 83 to 1 Oct 83
Col. Owen A. Heeter 1 Oct 83 to 1 Oct 85
Col. Robert S. Michelsen 1 Oct 85 to 26 Feb 88
Col. Charles R. Hagerhjelm 26 Feb 88 to 1 Aug 89
Col. Eric E. Wheaton 1 Aug 89 to 1 Aug 90
Col. John D. Woodruff 6 Aug 90 to 3 Jul 93
CSAR Medal of Honor Recipients
A1C William H. Pitsenbarger HH-43 1966
Capt. Gerald O. Young HH-3 1967