On Friday, June 17, 2016, in the presence of Air Force Support Command (HAFSC) Commander, Air Vice-Marshal Simeon Astrinidis held the celebration of the 10 years anniversary since the establishment of Hellenic Air Force 384 Search and Rescue (SAR) Squadron in 112 Combat Wing (CW) Elefsis Air Base.
This year 384 SAR Squadron celebrates 10 years since its establishment, and invited all of its friends to participate in this landmark anniversary. Before the establishment of 384 SAR Squadron, starting year 1999, the first Super Puma helicopters arrived in 112 CW, and joined the historic 358 Research and Rescue Squadron. Then the training process of the first core flight crew followed and very quickly the first successful missions came. Since then several years passed during which the appropriate conditions were built slowly and steadily the fleet of helicopters and staff, increased and in year 2006 the decision was taken by the leadership of the Hellenic Air Force to establish 384 SAR Squadron.
Since 2006 384 SAR Squadron writes daily its own history, with the confidence provided by the usage of a modern helicopter combined with the high level of human resources. Over the years, standardized procedures and manuals were prepared, training was optimized but most importantly, 384 SAR Squadron crews have accomplished difficult missions of highest risk acquiring irreplaceable experience.
384 SAR Squadron gets on time to the most inaccessible mountainous area amid turbulence and in more remote islet in the Aegean Sea, avoiding storms and carrying rescuers in stormy seas. This is because people in distress can not wait. For these tasks there is no luxury of postponing. Risk-taking is usually the norm in daily life of 384 SAR Squadron but always in line with the strict standardization procedures.
The mission of the squadron in peacetime is to offer to the community. Is the rescue of people and the transport of patients. This mission is sacred to 384 SAR Squadron personnel. The profit is none other than the direct intervention in the flow of life of fellow human beings in distress and this is the ultimate reward for all 384 SAR Squadron crews. 384 SAR Squadron has flown more than 4000 hours in search and rescue missions and more than 7000 hours in aero-medical missions in the last 10 years.
To achieve the above missions 384 SAR Squadron crews fly on the sidelines of mental and physical fatigue. The fact is that 1/3 of their lives, while serving in the squadron, covering 24 hours 24 hours 365 days a year cluster positions are away from their families. Which families are those who support them emotionally and acting as rear guard to the work of 384 SAR Squadron. Beyond the work in peacetime, an equally important mission of384 SAR Squadron during wartime, is the preservation of the battlefield, giving confidence to Hellenic Air Force pilots of fighter aircraft and members of the Special Forces that if necessary will be rescued and will be removed promptly from the hostile environment. Combat SAR missions are performed in cooperation with 31st Rescue Research Operations Squadron which reinforces 384 SAR Squadron's work as a force multiplier.
The helicopter crews are composed of many different disciplines: pilots, flight engineers, Divers Coast Guard rescuers and doctors are called to work together and act as cogs of a well-oiled machine, with the sole purpose of successful outcome of daily missions. An important aspect of 384 SAR Squadron's mission besides the other mentioned above, is to carry one firm and meaningful message. The presence of Hellenic Air Force in the East Mediterranean Sea and more specifically East Aegean Sea, and throughout the Greek FIR, has now created an establishment that is indisputable. The constant presence defends greek national interests, demonstrating in practice the country's ability to conduct effective search and rescue operations in the Greek FIR, covering the most of the requirements arising from international agreements, making it the best advertisement of the Hellenic Air Force's capabilities in European and NATO level. The crews of 384 SAR Squadron, will be always present wherever defending human life is necessary. Over the last 10 years 384 SAR Squadron celebrates the rescue of thousands of people. Celebrating the spirit of cooperation that pervades every mission to the rescue of patients.
During the celebration of 384 SAR Squadron 10 Years Anniversary a big surprise was waiting for the guests. A pair of AS-332C1 Super Puma helicopters flew over the Air Base demonstrating SAR and Combat SAR missions and one of them was decorated by an anniversary paint scheme picturing the greek flag and a puma formatting the 384 SAR Squadron's emblem on the tail of the Super Puma helicopter.
Given the opportunity we would like to mention the team of people who have worked for this outcome:
- Head: Wing Commander, Fotis Lachouvaris, Captain, Nicholas Kritsimas (384 Sqn)
- Graphic design: Sotiris Kakaletris (Aviation Project) and soldier Mark Tetradis
- Implementation: Chief Master Sergeant, George Konstantopoulos and from Light Technical Department Plant: Georgios Avratoglou, Theodore Terkensidis
- Painting: Constantinos Aggelakis (112 CW )
Airforce.gr would like to especially thank 384 SAR Squadron Commander, Wing Commander, Fotis Lachouvaris and all 384 SAR Squadron personnel for their hospitality. Happy Birthday 384 SAR Squadron!