57th Rescue Squadron Performs Rare Jump Onto Aviano Airbase

With the support of C-130J aircraft from the 86th Airlift Wing, 57th Rescue Squadron made a rare jump onto Aviano airbase.

Although it is scheduled to complete the move, along with the 56th, from RAF Lakenheath, UK, to Aviano AB, Italy, by the end of June 2018, the 57th RS has started getting acquainted with its new duty station located in northeastern Italy.

On Feb. 15 and 16, 2018, with the support of the Super Hercules aircraft from Ramstein Air Base’s 86th Airlift Wing, the Squadron’s pararescuemen jumped onto the base, home of the 31st Fighter Wing, the first in more than two decades.

One of the two C-130s used by the 57th RS to parachute onto Aviano AB.
The second Super Hercules involved in the 57th RS jumps onto Aviano.

Aviano has the U.S. military’s largest heavy drop facility in Europe and is the launching pad for the Vicenza-based 173rd Airborne Brigade, whose members routinely jump from C-130s onto the “Juliet” landing zone located at Maniago, about 15 miles from the base.

An HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter assigned to the 56th Rescue Squadron flies over Aviano Air Base, Italy, during a routine training mission Jan. 26, 2018. Members from the 56th and 57th RQS are flying throughout the region during several different training sorties. Their presence within the area will increase as they begin to transition from Royal Air Force Base Lakenheath, England. About 350 personnel, five HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters and Guardian Angel weapons systems are expected to relocate to Aviano AB in an effort to establish an enduring personnel recovery location within Europe. (U.S. Air Force by Senior Airman Cory W. Bush)

The 56th and 57th RS will bring their five HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters to Aviano in a few months, but they are also expected to train with the 173rd and Italian allies in various aircraft: with easy access to the Alps, Adriatic Sea and various Italian training ranges, their new airbase is considered very well suited for the training activities of the squadrons pararescuemen.

One of the pararescuemen about to land after parachuting from a C-130J.

Image credit: Claudio Tramontin

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.