123rd Special Tactics Squadron Mission: The 123rd Special Tactics Squadron is the only special operations unit in the Air National Guard with both combat controllers and pararescue personnel. Mission sets include clandestine deployment by land, sea and air to establish and control austere airfield and assault-zone operations. Members also conduct environmental reconnaissance and tactical weather forecasting; battlefield trauma care; and personnel and equipment recovery operations, including casualty evacuation and combat search and rescue. Combat Controllers are among the most highly trained personnel in the U.S. military. As FAA-certified air traffic controllers, they deploy undetected into combat and hostile environments to establish assault zones or airfields while simultaneously conducting air traffic control, fire support, command and control, direct action, counter-terrorism, foreign internal defense, humanitarian assistance and special reconnaissance. Their motto, “First There,” reaffirms the combat controller’s commitment to undertaking the most dangerous missions behind enemy lines by leading the way for other forces to follow. Pararescuemen are parachute-jump qualified trauma specialists who must maintain Emergency Medical Technician-Paramedic credentials throughout their careers. With this medical and rescue expertise, PJs are able to perform life-saving missions in the world’s most remote areas. A PJ’s primary function is personnel recovery specialist, with emergency medical capabilities in humanitarian and combat environments. PJs deploy in any available manner, to include air-land-sea tactics, into restricted environments to authenticate, extract, treat, stabilize and evacuate injured personnel. Their motto, “That Others May Live,” reaffirms the pararescueman’s commitment to saving lives. Special Reconaissance operators deploy deep behind enemy lines to collect and exploit key information, and develop targets in the battlespace. Performing on the cutting-edge of technology, SR surveil and prepare the battlespace to provide global access, air, space and cyberspace superiority. Command Structure: The 123rd Special Tactics Squadron’s parent organization is the Louisville-based 123rd Airlift Wing, the main operational unit of the Kentucky Air National Guard. When under federal control, the 123rd Special Tactics Squadron reports to the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command, which is headquartered at Hurlburt Field, Fla. Global engagement: The squadron is continually engaged in military operations around the globe, from hurricane-recovery efforts in the United States to combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. In just one three-year period, the unit’s Airmen were deployed overseas for more than 4,600 days, conducting over 950 ground-combat missions and 10,000 hours of Combat Search and Rescue operations credited with saving more than 50 personnel. The unit’s combat controllers were among the first U.S. forces on the ground following a devastating earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010, directing the first C-17 airdrops of humanitarian aid and controlling a massive resupply effort that delivered 20,000 pounds of food, water and medicine. Following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, members of the 123rd Special Tactics Squadron established and operated a helicopter landing zone on a highway overpass in New Orleans, helping evacuate nearly 12,000 citizens. In 2017, following Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, the unit deployed 18 personnel to the Houston area to rescue 336 citizens stranded by flood waters; and 23 Airmen to the Virgin Islands to provide air traffic control for 636 rescue aircraft, evacuating 1,286 U.S. Citizens from the Dutch island of St. Maarten.