United States Air Force Pararescue (PJ)

USAF Pararescue Jumbers (PJs) in action

In a case of emergency, where seconds matters, these guys are ready to jump in. Pararescuemen from the USAF Pararescue jumpers are often like the light at the end of the tunnel. Just about anything can happen during a mission and standard ex-filtration (EXFIL) isn’t always an option, if a regular operation has gone south, US Air Force Pararescuemen are the specialists you’ll want to call when recovery and medical treatment are needed immediately. Their is to search for downed aircraft crews, their treatment and evacuation from the combat environment. Of the 22 enlisted Air Force Cross recipients, 12 of them are PJs. With a track record of excellence and selflessness, they certainly live up to their creed –

“It is my duty as a Pararescueman to save lives and to aid the injured. I will be prepared at all times to perform my assigned duties quickly and efficiently, placing these duties before personal desires and comforts. These things I do, that others may live.”

History of the US Air Force Pararescue Teams

The history of USAF PJs or Pararescuemen goes back to before their official inception. The need for medical services dates from ancient ages but the medical services to be supplied by aerial vehicles was predicted as early as 1922, but the idea didn’t invent into conventional practice until World War II and wider usage of aerial vehicles.

USAF Pararescue team history began in August 1943, when 21 people left their damaged aircraft C-46 remained in the uncharted jungle near the Sino-Burmese border. Accident site was so remote that the only way to deliver aid to survivors, was dropping it with parachute.  Colonel Don Fleckinger volunteered for the task along with two paramedics. And this was airborne assault troops, medical seed from which further developed the concept of Pararescue team. For months, these men cared for the wounded before they got transported to safety. One of those who lived through it tough period, was a newspaper commentator Eric Sevareid. Later, about men who risked their own lives to rescue him, wrote: “Courage is a rare word, they deserve it.”

This event highlighted the need for specially trained paramedics, which brought to life Pararescuemen.From then on, their work was evident throughout the world. When they got to the flight crew, soldiers or civilians in trouble, Parazáchranáři came to help.

One of the most inspiring stories come from the conflict in Southeast Asia. Pararescuemen risked their lives when they flew over enemy territory to help their own forces. Daily voluntarily set off into the jungles of Vietnam to rescue wounded soldiers and downed pilots. 19 Air Force Crosses awarded to people in the service during the conflict in Southeast Asia, nine of these crosses fell Pararescuemen.

Characteristic resolution of Pararescuemen fell at the beginning of 1966. General John P. McConnell, then Air Force Chief of Staff, approved the wearing dark red berets whose color symbolizes the blood of sacrificial rescuers and their dedication to their mission to help others in need. The motto “that others may live” is a reality of their daily lives.

Official training Pararescuemen is infinite improvement. Continually improve procedures and looking better and better methods. Significant step forward for Pararescue occurred when in matching jump and diving equipment. When you jump on carries Pararescuemen equipped to dive to 170 pounds of weight.

One of the dramatic events occurred during the Pararescue diving event at the end of Gemini 8 space flight, in which sat astronauts Neil A. Armstrong and David R. Scott. Due to problems reported by PJs prepared for the expected location of the Marine landing. They were in place in time, thus saw a spaceship crash into the sea. Three Pararescuemen parachuted behind them and prepared within 20 minutes flotation equipment. Rescuers stayed with the astronauts until the arrival of a Navy destroyer three hours later.

Pararescuemen provide ongoing support NASA missions and provide support to their rescue space program. The performance of these tasks regularly train.

The key task is to save lives Pararescuemen and their work forms an important part of the rescue system.For example, during the two weeks were twice called to help a Russian merchant ships in two different areas. In the first case, a severely burned sailor Russian transport ship in the Atlantic 700 miles from the coast. Two Parazáchranáři from the Azores to let air transport over the place where the parachutes landed next to the boat. Then take care of the severely injured to the point where the ship reached port a few days later. Two weeks later, there was another distress call from another Russian craft – fishing boat in the Pacific Ocean off the Oregon coast. A team of three from Portland Parazáchranářů jumped into the ocean. The ship then treated fishermen from serious back and head injuries from falling. When the ship is sufficiently close to the coast, the vessel Coast Guard sailor picked up and taken to a hospital.

In 1989, to assist in debugging and treatment motorists on California highway destroyed by the earthquake. PJs were the only ones who voluntarily crawled between the plates ruined highway to get to the victim. In this personal dedication have earned awards from President Bush.

When employed in Panama in 1989 Pararescuemen were among the first American fighters who parachuted during Operation Just Cause . Due to the intensity of combat operations found their medical skills and strong recovery. With its formulated rovers RATT-V took care of the majority of U.S. casualties in the two airports under Panamanian control, which were obtained in the initial phase of the invasion.

In Operation Desert Storm had Pararescuemen task of ensuring the downed aircraft crew and wounded soldiers. This action to “liberate” Kuwait again demonstrated the usefulness Parazáchranářů. One of their missions was the navigator rescue downed F-14 in a very dangerous environment, where they clashed off the rescued soldier with enemy forces. Pararescue also provided humanitarian assistance to Kurdish refugees fleeing northern Iraq.

In Somalia, were involved in the operation to capture Somali leader Mohammed Aidid. Together with Army Rangers had PJs authority to the role of helicopters Search and Rescue . At the initial strike two helicopters were shot down, PJs, therefore, went to the assistance and protection of survivors. As the helicopter crashed into the zone heaviest fighting, PJs and Rangers were seeded directly into the firefight, transported wounded from the imminent danger and provide them with medical treatment. Due to this they managed directly during surgery to save many lives.

In Afghanistan, one of the known events such as those for which there were two PJs Award, one of them posthumously. After a fierce firefight, they managed to rescue 10 U.S. soldiers. During this combat, search and rescue missions were either killed PJ, before that his colleague could stabilize the wounded and under fire for them to pinpoint the location of pickup.

Training of the USAF Pararescue

Once in the USAF PJ Candidate Course, you will be challenged physically for ten weeks on their training compound in Lackland AFB, Texas.  The first phase is known as Team Training and is 8 weeks long.  It consists of extensive physical training with swimming, running, weight training, calisthenics and obstacle courses and other appropriate training.  Educational training such as medical and diving terminology, CPR, weapons qualifications, and dive physics are also part of the first phase on Candidate Course.

Minimal requirements to became USAF Pararescue or USAF Combat Control tech

To become a USAF PJ or USAF Combat Control tech you need to meet minimum requirements. Here are the specifics minimums and the recommended scores in the parenthesis:

  • 2 x 25 m subsurface swim no time limit
  • 500 m swim 10:07 or less (sub 9 min)
  • 30 min rest
  • 1.5 mile run 9:47 or less (sub 9 min)
  • 10 min rest
  • 10 pull ups min (20+)
  • 2 min rest
  • 58 sit ups min (100+)
  • 2 min rest
  • 54 push ups min (100+)

If you want to compare how it looks against modern sports here are the standards for IRON MAN:

  • 2 x 25 m subsurface
  • 500 m swim 9:30
  • 1.5 mile run 9:30
  • 13 pull ups
  • 65 sit ups
  • 65 push ups