304th Rescue Squadron Big Foot Pararescue / PJ Air Force Challenge Coin

  • $225.00

This coin is 1 3/4 inches in diameter.  It is used and in good shape with surface marks from handling,

The 304th Rescue Squadron is an Air Force Reserve Command combat search and rescue unit located at Portland Air National Guard Base, Oregon. The squadron is a geographically separated unit assigned to the 943d Rescue Group at Davis–Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, and the 920th Rescue Wing at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida.[1]


The peacetime mission of the 304th is to train and maintain rescue capability for Department of Defense personnel, humanitarian and disaster relief activities. The 304th's wartime mission is to provide combat rescue capabilities to recover downed aircrew members and isolated personnel. They can provide this capability under the harshest of circumstances to include, day/night, inclement weather and all terrain rescue conditions.[1]

Astronaut recovery

The 304th will also be responsible for recovery of astronauts landed in US spaceships off American shore. For that mission, the squadron will have 3 teams ready.

During ascent for Starliner, Dragon, and Orion, the 304th Rescue Squadron will have two teams stationed along the east coast of the United States, one at Patrick Air Force Base (just South of the Cape) and the other in Charleston, South Carolina. The Patrick team, Rescue 1, will be responsible for on-pad aborts that place a capsule in the water or for aborts in the first couple minutes of flight that place the capsule within a 200 nautical mile zone from the Cape. After that distance is exceeded, the Charleston crew (Rescue 2) would be responsible for rescue of a launch-aborting crew vehicle anywhere else across the Atlantic.The third team, stationed in Hawai’i, (also part of Rescue 2) would be responsible for any after-launch immediate landing need or off-nominal Station return contingency that places a Starliner or Dragon in the Pacific. If an off-nominal from orbit return occurred with splashdown in the Atlantic, an emergency ocean return within 200 nautical miles of Cape Canaveral would fall to Rescue 1. Any other Atlantic splashdown would fall to Rescue 2 from Charleston because they have more powerful aircraft that could reach Starliner or Dragon or Orion quicker than the Patrick support craft.

Rescue 1 carries a requirement to have a crew en route back to land within 6 hours of splashdown. Rescue 2 carries a requirement to have the hatch on a capsule opened within 24 hours of splashdown and a crew evacuated (via helicopter or ship) from the sea landing area within 72 hours of hatch open.[4]


The 304th trained for combat search and rescue (CSAR) capability from its inception. The 304th was activated in the Reserves on 16 November 1957 at Portland IAP. In 1961, Pararescuemen (PJs) were added to the unit. Since then, the 304th has been training, equipping and employing Combat Rescue Officers, PJs, and support personnel worldwide in support of U.S. national security interests. It performed search, rescue, and medical evacuation missions primarily in the Northwestern United States, including over 100 missions immediately following the Mt. St. Helens volcanic eruption in May 1980. The unit responded to the crash of United Flight 173 in 1978. It maintained helicopter air refueling capability from 1985 to 1997 and deployed to provide SAR coverage worldwide, including Keflavík, Iceland, during and after the Gulf War and to the Persian Gulf region from 1990–2003. Since 2001, personnel from the 304th RQS have deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

(REF: Wikipedia)