2157th Air Rescue Squadron

The 2157th Air Rescue Squadron, originally based at K-16 (Seoul City Air Base) moved to K-14 (Kimpo Air Base) on 2 January 55. Running water and flush toilets easily led the list of benefits of the move!

When the Truce was signed on 27 July 1953 to end most of the fighting in Korea, it was an H-19 of the 2157th which took Admiral Briscoe to Munsan for the signing ceremony.

Major Emerson E. Heller, a native of Spring City, Pennsylvania, served as C.O. of the 2157th as part of a distinguished military career. He flew 31 combat missions in the B-17 over Europe with the 303rd Bomb Group in England. After that, he served a tour with Flight C of the 1st Air Rescue Group at Ramey Air Force Base, Puerto Rico. From June 1951 until July 1952, he was Commander of Detachment #1, 3rd Air Rescue Group, and flew 74 combat missions in the H-19. Along with his 105 combat missions, which would be distinction enough, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with 6 Oak Leaf Clusters, and several other decorations. And he was arguably the best helicopter pilot in the world.

He returned to his former Squadron, now the 2157th, in 1955 as C.O., which post he held until the 2157th was deactivated in 1956 and incorporated into the 39th.

The typical monthly complement during 1955 was approximately 23 officers and 75 airmen.

The 2157th maintained helicopter elements at K-55, K-8, K-16, and Formosa. The 2157th took over the rescue detachment at Tainan Air Base on Taiwan on 1 October 55, using H-19B # 52-7481. The element consisted of two pilots, one crew chief, one aircraft mechanic, and one aeromedic.

The 2157th was inactivated on 8 April 56, the helicopters going to the new 60th Air Rescue Squadron, and most of the personnel going to the 39th, with some to the 60th.


C-47D # 43-48957 - 1955
H-19A # 51-3271 - 1955
H-19A # 51-3873 - 1955
H-19A # 51-3886 - 1955
H-19A # 52-7483 - 1955
H-19B # 52-7481 - 1955
H-19B # 52-7497 - 1955
H-19B # 53-4463 - 1955
H-19B # 53-4464 - 1955
K-14, The rescue area, front
K-14, The rescue area, rear
The quonset hut at K-55