March 13, 2007 —
TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla -- The Air Force Rescue Coordination Center began operations here March 1 as the newest team member in "America's Air Operations Center."
The AFRCC realigned under 1st Air Force (AFNORTH) in April 2006, to consolidate Air Force support to civilian agencies under a single air component commander. AFNORTH falls under the command of U.S. Northern Command.
Previously located at Langley AFB, Virginia, the AFRCC is now consolidated with the 601st Air Operations Center here, giving it greater ability to leverage Air Force air and space capabilities that can be applied to continental U.S. search and rescue.
America's AOC also gains the responsibility for executing civil search and rescue, and personnel recovery operations, in the North American Aerospace Defense Command and USNORTHCOM areas of operations. The result is greater efficiencies and capabilities for military and civilians alike.
"The AFRCC serves as the single agency responsible for coordinating on-land federal SAR activities in the 48 contiguous United States, Mexico and Canada," said Lt Col Jed Hudson, AFRCC commander. "This realignment under 1st Air Force and being embedded into America's AOC, enhances the unit's overall effectiveness and will help us save lives in the future."
Serving as communication hub during on-going search and rescue missions, the AFRCC provides coordination and assistance to on-scene commanders, mission coordinators, and incident commanders in order to recover the mission's objective in the safest and most effective manner possible. This 24/7 center uses state-of-the-art technology, including network satellites for monitoring emergency locator transmitter signals, to help reduce the critical time required to locate and recover people in distress.
Since the center opened in May 1974, AFRCC missions have resulted in more than 13,900 lives saved.
NORAD is charged with early warning and detection of threats both airborne and in the maritime domain for the Unites States and Canada.
USNORTHCOM was established in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to protect the homeland against terrorist threats. Another mission of the command is to provide defense support to civil authorities, such as coordinating search and rescue efforts in the wake of a natural disaster.