Hosted by PJs in Vietnam
Last Update: Monday, July 20, 2009

 

Site Mission:
Provide Pararescue
and
Air Rescue History

Dedicated to USAF men and women, past and present,
who go into harms way to save lives.
 Their motto is "That Others May Live"

 

 

JRCC Save Forms
VN SAR Database
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Welcome to the Vietnam JRCC Save Forms Homepage

To go directly to the save forms click the link on the left side of this Page

During the Vietnam War, the Joint Rescue Coordination Center (JRCC) was responsible for coordinating search and rescue missions for the United States Air Force. The Army, Navy and the Marine Corps for the most part rescued the majority of their downed pilots. However, if the other services rescue mission became complicated by extreme hostile opposition, it was not uncommon for them to request the USAF to conduct the SAR for them. That was because USAF SAR forces were trained, organized, and equipped for combat SAR. Simply stated, it was their primary and only mission in the war; so, they were very good at it.

The JRCC was co-located  with HQ 7th AF at Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Saigon, South Vietnam. Following a successful rescue mission, the JRCC recorded the number of people rescue on a form which was known as the "save" form. One person rescued equaled one "life saved." During war time, the saves are categorized as combat saves and non-combat saves. Saves in hostile areas were "combat saves." If enemy forces were shooting at the rescue aircraft, that was clearly a combat save. It the rescue crew flew to a ship 50 miles away from Vietnam to medevac an injured person, that was clearly a non-combat save. The definition of combat verses non-combat save occasionally changed as personnel rotated in and out of their assignment to the RCC. The bottom line is that the senior RCC controller made the final determination of how a save was logged.

The JRCC and the 3rd Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Group were deactivated on 31 January 1976. In the 3rd ARRGp Historical Report recording their deactivation, they claim that during the "conflict in Southeast Asia, 3,900 "saves" were credited, of which 2,679 were "combat saves." You can read this primary source document titled "End of an Era"  by clicking on the link to the left

At the end of the Vietnam War, the Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Service was moved to and from several different command lines. During Vietnam, and for several year following the war, rescue was assigned to the Military Airlift Command. Then, circa 1989 Air Rescue forces were transferred to the Air Combat Command. In late 2003, Air Rescue was transferred to the AF Special Operations Command. And, in 2006 a decision was made to move rescue back to the Air Combat Command. Each move resulted in all of the Air Rescue historical files being moved to the new command. The majority of Air Rescue  primary source historical files were lost when in 2003 Hurricane Isabel flooded HQ ACC. Other primary source files were destroyed when the "unofficial Air Rescue Museum" at Kirtland was shut down during a reprioritization of space utilization. The trash dumpsters were overflowing with material thrown away at that time. The USAF PJ School was located nearby and the instructors sent students to recover whatever they deemed appropriate. However less than one percent of the material made its way to the PJ School (my estimate) and the rest went to the dump and was destroyed.

The Vietnam era JRCC save logs went into a "black hole" at the end of the war. As best as I can determine, no USAF agency knew if they had a copy of them in their historical archives. During several years of research between 1995 and 2000 at the Air Force Historical Agency at Maxwell AFB, I never came across them. When I visited the USAF Museum in 1988 they were no where to be found. HQ Office of History in Washington D.C. did not have them. They might have existed in the U.S. National Archives but no one knew for sure. In 2004 I learned that AFSOC had several boxes of Air Rescue documents but they had never been cataloged so no one really knew what was in them. I traveled from my home in Alaska to Hurlburt Field which was AFSOC headquarters. The history office allowed me to look inside the boxes which held old Air Rescue documents. The staff of the history office were unsure who was the last person to look at these records, or even if they had ever been looked at. All they knew for is that the records had been there ever since the end of the Vietnam War.

When I studied the contents of their Rescue collection I discovered that I had hit pay dirt ! ! !. Most of the documents were the original copies of many primary source documents for Air Rescue history from post WWII until just after the end of the Vietnam War. One set of documents was the only known surviving copy of the Saigon JRCC save logs. These list EVERY SAR flown by the USAF during the entire war, identified the survivors name and which unit rescued him and the aircraft commanders name of the rescue aircraft. I volunteered to extend my stay at AFSOC and conduct an unofficial inventory of all the documents in the AFSOC rescue collection. You can look at what I found at the link on the left.

So, you now have a chance to see the JRCC save files for yourself. It took 30-years for them to surface and thank the fickle lady of fate, that somehow AFSOC got these files and held on to them through all the decades since the Vietnam War.

Reading these forms requires Adobe Acrobat Reader version 7 or higher. Get your free copy by clicking on the link to the left.

Click the  link on the left to go to the JRCC Save Forms. A CD-ROM with all of the save forms is available from the webmaster for a nominal fee. Contact rlapointe@gci.net for details. Funds collected go to the maintenance of this website.


 

 

 

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Copyright 1999 Robert L. Appointee. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part, in any form or medium, without the expressed written permission of Robert L. LaPointe is Prohibited