Guardian Angel rescue airmen at RAF Lakenheath, Britain, separated from their helicopter squadron to form a new unit, according to a base release. This move was part of the Air Force’s broader standardization of its organizational structure. “Today, the fifth and final Active Duty Air Force Guardian Angel rescue squadron has broken apart from its helicopter rescue squadron,” said Maj. Patrick Gruber, commander of the new 57th Rescue Squadron that stood up on Feb. 18. The new unit’s pararescuemen, combat rescue officers, and survival and escape specialists will continue to pair with the HH-60Gs of the 56th RQS to execute the personnel recovery mission out of Lakenheath, states the release. The Air Force began splitting Guardian Angels from their helicopter support units in 2001 due to the former’s unique and demanding training requirements, according to officials.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.