Happy Birthday, Combat Rescue Officers

The Air Force created the combat rescue officer career field 10 years ago Wednesday. “We recognize how vital the personnel recovery and combat rescue missions have become in our expeditionary aerospace force concept,” said former Air Force Secretary Whit Peters on Dec. 8, 2000, when he and then-Chief of Staff Gen. Michael Ryan directed the creation of a 165-man team to accomplish the mission. Peters added: “The ability to bring people home safely from dangerous missions is paramount. Establishing a career field devoted to this mission will ensure attention is always focused on this commitment.” CROs have been conducting personnel recovery missions since February 2002. Today, they continue to save the lives of US, coalition, and civilian personnel across Southwest Asia. The CROs “are true leaders,” said Lt. Gen. Mike Hostage, Air Forces Central commander. (Maxwell report by A1C Christopher S. Stoltz)