Lieutenant Col. Rod ‘Hot Rod’ Assumes Command of 301st Rescue Squadron at Patrick Air Force Base

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ceremony held Saturday at Patrick Air Force Base

A 301st Rescue Squadron pilot poses with a squadron gift to Lt. Col. Scott Nichols during a Change of Command Ceremony on June 5, 2020. The 301st RQS, a unit within the 920th Rescue Wing, operates the HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter. The unit is charged with both combat and peacetime search- and-rescue support for the United States and Allied Service members. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Amanda Ling)

BREVARD COUNTY • PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, FLORIDA – Lieutenant Col. Rod “Hot Rod” assumed command of the 301st Rescue Squadron during a change of command ceremony Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, on Saturday.

Lt. Col. Rod was born and raised in Gainesville, Florida. After graduating with a Bachelor of Finance degree from the University of Florida in 1998, he began his military career. He commissioned into the Army to fly UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters as a mission pilot and maintenance test pilot.

During his time in the Army, Rod served in varies positions including platoon leader and company commander. In 2009, Lt. Col. Rod made the transfer to the Air Force Reserve and joined the 920th Rescue Wing.

With more than 3,000 flight hours and over 700 combat hours, the new 301st RQS commander is also a HH-60 Pave Hawk instructor pilot. He has flown missions in Iraqi, Afghanistan and Africa in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Inherent, over the course of six combat deployments.

Lt. Col. Rod, 301st Rescue Squadron commander, poses in front of his HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter following his Change of Command Ceremony on June 5, 2020. The 301st RQS, a unit within the 920th Rescue Wing, operates the HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter. The unit is charged with both combat and peacetime search- and-rescue support for the United States and Allied Service members. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Amanda Ling)

“I’m excited to work with this team of dedicated professionals,” said Lt. Col. Rod. “Our mission is to ensure our capability to rescue anyone, anywhere, anytime.”

Relinquishing command of the 301st RQS, after two years, is Lt. Col. Scott Nichols. He accepted an individual mobilization augmentee position as the Emergency Plans Liaison Officer, Tyndall AFB, Panama City, Florida.

The 301st RQS, a unit within the 920th Rescue Wing, operates the HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter. The unit is charged with both combat and peacetime search- and-rescue support for the United States and Allied Service members.

Based at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, the 920th RQW is the only Air Force Reserve Command personnel recovery wing. The wing trains and equips over 2,000 Airmen who carry out its mission, to search for, locate and recover U.S. Armed Forces personnel during military operations.

Lt. Col. Michael, presiding officer, Lt. Col. Rod, new 301st Rescue Squadron commander, and Lt. Col. Scott Nichols, outgoing 301st RQS commander, pose on stage during a Change of Command Ceremony on June 5, 2020. The 301st RQS, a unit within the 920th Rescue Wing, operates the HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter. The unit is charged with both combat and peacetime search- and-rescue support for the United States and Allied Service members. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Amanda Ling)

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