WASHINGTON, DC—Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Ken Calvert (D-CA) led a bipartisan group of 74 representatives today voicing support for the Combat Rescue Helicopter program. Recent reports have indicated the program is at risk due to arbitrary budget decisions.


“These indispensable assets enable the critical mission of rescuing downed pilots, a mission that former Air Force Chief of Staff Michael Moseley once called a moral imperative’, the representatives wrote in a letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. “The combat search and rescue mission is one of the highest utilized missions in the entire military.  The legacy fleet has saved thousands of lives over the last decade and repeatedly proved the critical nature of this mission…We appreciate that the Air Force has competing budgetary demands, but those must not interfere with equipping the Air Force to execute the vital and essential mission of rescuing downed pilots, as well as saving our service-members in harm’s way.”


For the full text of the letter, please click here.


Cutting the program would mean that the U.S. Air Force’s aging fleet of HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters would not be replaced by 112 newer helicopters. In their letter today, the representatives asked Secretary Hagel to include funding for the Combat Rescue Helicopter program in future budget requests.


DeLauro recently sent a letter to the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee requesting that funding for the program not be cut. That letter can be viewed here.