Moody Activates Two Rescue Generation Squadrons

Master Sgt. Daryl Knee, 23rd Wing Public Affairs

Monday, October 11th, 2021

The 723rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron deactivated and the 41st and 71st Rescue Generation Squadrons activated at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, Oct. 1, 2021.

This realignment of maintenance Airmen, resources and responsibilities is part of the combat oriented maintenance organization structure, or COMO, which aims to provide a tighter relationship between operators and the maintainers who ensure their squadron’s aircraft are ready to fly.

“This organizational change is being taken as our Air Force continues its evolution and strives to improve synchronization between maintenance and operations,” said Col. Jason Purdy, 23rd Maintenance Group commander. “Today is a great day for the 23rd Maintenance Group as we honor our past while transitioning into our future.

“While the organization is changing,” he said, “our Airmen will continue to strive for excellence in all that they do and, most importantly, continue to maintain ‘That Others May Live.’”

The 41st RGS Airmen will focus on the new HH-60W Jolly Green II combat rescue helicopter as Moody prepares to be the first combat-capable HH-60W unit in the Air Force.

“Our primary focus is on one thing, and one thing alone,” said 41st RGS commander Maj. Thomas Bihansky about how the new organization fits into the lead-wing concept. “Preparing our HH-60Ws, our equipment and our Airmen to meet and defeat any adversary anywhere in the world with little to no notice, exactly one year from today. The clock is ticking and our adversaries aren’t waiting.”

Bihansky then charged his Airmen to approach every single day with strategic purpose and to make every effort to advance capabilities, capitalize on opportunities and innovate solutions to the complex challenges of maintaining a new airframe.

Conversely, the HC-130J Combat King II aircraft isn’t a new addition to Moody, but the 71st RGS Airmen will focus on maintaining and improving the airframe’s capabilities: long-range combat search and rescue, command and control, airdrop pararescue and equipment, and air refueling operations for aircraft across the joint force.

“It’s my job to enable the ‘Yes’ in innovative thought,” said Capt. Patrick Britton, 71st RGS commander. “I have to provide the resources and protection to my Airmen to try out new things and get after the mission.

“We’ve already demonstrated how we lead the way,” he added about the most recent deployment to support Operation Inherent Resolve, “and all of our capabilities will provide resources that may be otherwise lacking in future contingency locations. When (Air Combat Command) and the world needs something, they know who to call – it’s going to be the 71st.”

Lt. Col. Brian Desautels, 71st Rescue Squadron commander, echoed the importance of empowering a dedicated commander with a smaller, agile fleet of HC-130J aircraft maintainers.

“This change will allow the squadron commander more time to focus on a group of Airmen to really get to know and care for them,” he said. “And from that care, it’ll increase productivity and give the chance for that squadron to grow.”

And that growth is all about the two new squadrons continuing to solve complex rescue issues with the legacy of excellence from the former 723rd AMXS Airmen.

“Let’s be clear,” Purdy said. “Combat search and rescue and personnel recovery is a ‘can’t-fail’ mission. When Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines are preparing for a combat ground mission, a few of the things they pray for are more ammo, a loaded A-10 overhead and our combat search and rescue teams on call if they’re needed to pull them out.

“If someone is lost on land or at sea, they hope to hear the sound of our engines approaching, because they know we are going to get them out,” he added. “When a hurricane drives people to the roofs of their home, they look skyward for our Airmen.”

The COMO structure will affect more than just the 23rd Wing’s rescue mission. The next organization change scheduled will be the activation of a fighter generation squadron in early 2022.