BACKGROUND: On July 1, 1971, the 1550 Aircrew Training Wing was activated at Hill Air Force Base, Utah.
BACKGROUND: On July 1, 1971, the 1550 Aircrew Training Wing was activated at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Service (ARRS), one of three worldwide services of the Military Airlift Command (MAC), is primarily responsible for providing rescue and recovery support for Air Force global operations. The ARRS has been assigned the responsibility as manager of the 1550th Aircrew Training and Test Wing, Hill AFB. The 1550th includes the consolidated Air Force helicopter school, the HC-130 specialized aircrew training school and the pararescue training school. The wing also maintains an operational test capability under the direction of the Military Airlift Command.
When aircrewmen are assigned to ARRS, they are already proficient in the operation of their aircraft and equipment. However, each new ARRS member receives specialized rescue training from the 1550th ATTW, Hill AFB.
HC-130 crewmen undergo a 30-day rescue and recovery training program at Hill which includes intercepts, escorts, and search patterns over water and mountains. It also includes instruction in the use of special ARRS electronics gear, aerial recovery, and delivery of emergency kits.
Pararescuemen are the only ARRS personnel selected directly from basic training at Lackland AFB, Texas. They are hand-screened volunteers who then undergo 15 weeks of extensive training in parachuting, SCUBA diving, medical care, survival, and mountain climbing before reporting to Hill for advanced rescue and recovery training.
The 1550 has the only H-53 and H-3 helicopter simulators in the Air Force. The simulators are digital computer controlled. They are mockups of actual helicopters on the inside and have a motion system to simulate the motion of flight. They never leave the ground and are operated at a fraction of the cost of the actual helicopters and in many instances, allow crewmembers to practice emergency procedures and react to situations that would be prohibitively dangerous in an actual aircraft. In this period of austerity, these Air Force simulators save money and precious resources.
The course length is three to four months and the 1550th graduates nearly 1200 students each year. The graduates go to seven different commands, the Air Force Reserves, and several foreign services.
The wing also assists the local communities by air evacuation of injured people from the scenes of accidents when other means would be too slow.