From Coast to Coast, the Mission Never Stops

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jacob Dastas
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Many know Tyndall Air Force Base as being a cornerstone of the country’s fifth-generation aircraft pilot training mission as well as one of the Department of Defense’s main strong points for unrivaled air dominance. However, what many do not know is that Tyndall is also the home of a multitude of tenant units with differing missions and capabilities. One of these tenant units is the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center. 

The Air Force Rescue Coordination Center is a pivotal resource in helping save hundreds of lives every year. Their mission is multifaceted with responsibilities ranging from missing persons or aircraft rescues to investigations into emergency distress calls.

“The AFRCC is a 24 hour, 365 days a year operation,” said Tech. Sgt. Lawrence Baxton, AFRCC noncommissioned officer in charge of training. “[We] save lives by providing expert coordination capability while fostering cooperation and providing first responder education in support of the National Search and Rescue Plan.”

Being a tenant unit, the AFRCC has a limited number of members. But what the unit lacks in manpower, they more than make up for in effectiveness.

“Each of the day’s three shifts consists of a senior controller and one to four junior controllers depending on the operational tempo,” added Baxton. “The AFRCC is the busiest Rescue Coordination Center in the world with well over 10,000 incidents, 600 missions and 350 saves a year.”

Their effectiveness and efficiency partially originates from their multiple mission sets. The AFRCC covers a wide range of incidents to support local and federal agencies to help those in need the best they can.

“We are the only inland Search and Rescue coordination unit in the continental United States,” Baxton continued. “Controllers spend a lot of time on the phone working with several government agencies and using computer applications to complete each incident.”

Despite such a large workload and the added stress of a job like search and rescue, the members do everything within their power to assist those in need and supporting the mission.

“We do our best to be very flexible and stay aggressively helpful to our objectives and SAR units,” Baxton concluded. “The AFRCC [bolsters] Tyndall’s mission by being available to assist with all rescue needs from military to civil support.”