Hosted by PJs
Last Update: Monday, July 20, 2009
Site Mission: Provide Pararescue and Air Rescue History
Want to be a PJ?
Pararescue is an exciting job with the mission of saving lives. Known as PJs, they are the elite of the USAF. PJs parachute from low altitudes (800 feet) with round parachutes; or, they may parachute from high altitude (up to 25,000 feet) with square parachutes. Parachuting is just one way PJs get to work. They are also trained to be inserted into objective areas using any many other type of insertion techniques from fixed or rotary wing aircraft, watercraft, or land vehicle.
PJs are paramedics, SCUBA divers, mountain climbers, all terrain vehicle operators, small arms experts, and qualified in many other technical areas. Pararescue are expected to operate in all types of adverse terrain, day or night, in any weather conditions, in peacetime and in combat. Pararescue is one of a few remaining jobs in the USAF that are closed to female volunteers. That is because of a congressional restriction on woman taking part in battle as primary ground combatants. Successful applicants wear the Pararescue badge on a maroon beret. Pararescuemen travel routinely all around the world in overt and covert military operations. PJs take pride in their official motto "That Other's May Live" and also an unofficial title of "Jack of All Trades." All PJs are expected to be highly self motivated, willing to put the needs of others before their own, and maintain exceptional physical fitness.
The primary mission is combat search and rescue. This is called personnel recovery in the special operations community. No matter what you call it, the combat mission of a Pararescueman is his ultimate challenge. If the PJ achieves complete success in combat, he comes home alive, with all his teammates, and with the survivor. If he fails, the end result is often fatal to either himself, his teammates, the survivor, or; all of them. In spite of all the training, the latest in high technology equipment, and the gung ho attitude of the PJs, total success during a combat mission is not guaranteed and these brave men have to accept that they have done their best. Presently, PJs are active participants in the current war in terrorism overtly serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. The are also covertly participating in that war in other regions of the world. Anyone considering becoming a Pararescueman must not have any doubts about their willingness to fight in this war, anytime, anywhere.
A career as a PJ does not come without a price. Accidents happen and a large percentage of PJs who retire from the USAF with multiple injuries which result in chronic pain for the rest of their life. Death is no stranger to these men and during the course of a Pararescue career, one commonly buries several teammates killed in action or in the line of duty. Maintaining a family life at the same time as being a Pararescueman places extreme strains on all members of the family. The PJ is constantly on call for no notice deployments and frequently they are classified. The result is that a wife must put up with her husband being home one day, and then without any advance warning, gone the next. Sometimes she knows where he is going and when he will be back. Sometimes she is simply told it is classified. PJs are commonly deployed away from home for more than half of each year. Being home for Christmas, other holidays, child births, birthdays, and family emergencies is not guaranteed. This is exceedingly tough of the entire family.
On the other hand, the rewards of saving a fellow human being are difficult to put into words. Let me simply say that it is the ultimate in self actualization. Being a Pararescueman puts you into the company of teammates who are equally dedicated and positively minded. These men accomplish heroic and super human tasks and then tell interested persons "I was just doing my job and any other PJ would have done the same thing, maybe even better than I did." Being part of this team is a joy in your life that no amount of money can buy.
If you have any self doubts at all about becoming a PJ, I would suggest you not try and join Pararescue. You have to be more than willing to give one hundred percent of your efforts in training.
If after reading all of this, you still want to become a USAF Pararescueman, the below information will provide you what you need to begin. I would wish you good luck, but luck has little to do in becoming a PJ. The best advice I can offer after a 26-year career in Pararescue is to be ready to suffer incredible hardships and no matter how hard the task, never quit !!!
To become a PJ, you must be a volunteer, be able to pass a USAF flight physical, and complete the Pararescue PAST test with a score of 270 or higher. You can no volunteer while in basic training. If you wish to try out for Pararescue immediately following basic training, you must coordinate this with your recruiter PRIOR to enlisting in the USAF. You will need to enlist under the Guaranteed Training Enlistment Program (GTEP). Information on this program and almost everything you need to become a PJ can be found at http://www.specialtactics.com/pararescue.shtml
If you are already in the USAF you can
volunteer to cross train from your old AFSC into the Pararescue AFSC.
Read this PDF factsheet for information on becoming a PJ
Pararescue Physical Ability and Stamina Test (PAST)
The following Physical Ability and Stamina Test (PAST) is for new accessions for Pararescue. “New Accessions” means applicants who take the PAST before completing basic training and Technical School. Individuals who apply for Pararescue after completing basic training and technical school, and prior service applicants are considered “re-trainees,” and do not take the below PAST. Those individuals take the combined Pararescue/Combat Combat Controller PAST for re-trainees, listed in Air Force Instruction 36-2626, Attachment 11.
This test must be conducted in a 3-hour time frame and in the order listed below. There is one pass/fail event and six point-scored events. The candidate must receive a combined total of 270 points, and pass the pass/fail event in order to pass the PAST.
20-Meter Underwater Swim. (Pass/Fail). The 20 meter underwater swim should be demonstrated first either through actual demonstration or by use of the training video that has already been supplied to recruiting squadrons. If members surface or break the water surface during any portion of the swim, the test will be stopped and considered a failure for the entire PAST. Swimsuits and swim goggles/SCUBA mask are the only equipment items allowed. After completion of the underwater allow a 5-10 minute rest before the next event. Members should carefully stretch for the swim during this break time.
500-meter surface swim. This swim is conducted using the freestyle, breastsroke or sidestroke. There is no maximum time limit. The swim is continuous (non-stop). If a member stops any time during the swim, the test will be stopped and considered a failure for the entire PAST. Swimsuit and goggles/SCUBA mask are the only equipment items allowed. After completion of the swim, allow a 30-minute rest prior to the next event. Members should carefully stretch for the run during this break time.
1.5-mile run. There is no maximum time limit. PT clothes and good running shoes are the only required items. This run must be continuous (non-stop). If a member stops anytime during this run, the test will be stopped and considered a failure for the entire PAST. Members will be given a 10-minute break prior to the next event. Test should be conducted on a measured running track.
Chin-ups (One Minute). Chin-ups are a two count exercise. Starting position is hanging from a bar, palms facing the candidate, with no bend in the elbows. Hand spread is approximately shoulder width. Count one, pull the body up until the chin clears the top of the bar. Count two, return to the starting position. Legs are allowed to bend, but must not be kicked or manipulated to aid upward movement. If the candidate falls off, stops, or releases the bar, the exercise is terminated. Candidates will exercise to muscle failure or time completion. Note: in performing all calisthenics, the exercises proper form must be followed. Deviation from the form to allow an extra repetition is strictly enforced during the training pipeline. A three minute rest period is allowed before the next exercise.
WANT TO BE A PJ POINTS OF CONTACT LIST:
TSgt Marshal R McClanahan 342TRS/CTFI
CMSgt (Ret.) Wayne Norrad
Tele. 850-884-4246, DSN 579-4246
Captain Scott Shepard
100 Bartley Street Suite 153
Hurlburt Field, FL. 32544-5273
Major Mike Flatten
Special Tactics Officer Selection Project Officer
FAX ext 1937
Joseph G. Higgins, Lt Col, USAF
Combat Rescue Officer
Chief, Personnel Recovery Division
Air National Guard Air and Space Operations
Com: (703) 607-2926
Fax: (703) 607-3693
CMSgt David Power
Pararescue/Combat Control Functional Manager
Personnel Recovery Division
Air National Guard Air and Space Operations
Com: (703) 607-2917
Fax: (703) 607-3693
Air Force Reserve Command Primary PJ/CRO POC:
SMS Mark Greenan
Pararescue Functional Manager
Robins AFB GA
CMSgt Ed Lundberg (Pararescue):
Comm (210) 652-4103
304th Rescue Squadron, PANG Base, Portland, OR
1-800-762-0034 ex 5-4553 TSgt Giacchino or TSgt Davis
Reserve PJ / CRO and numerous Support positions open.
Both qualified or brand new candidates should expect to live in the Portland area.
305th RQS Pararescue Section (Tucson, Arizona)
Reserve openings (no full time openings).
To be elegible for this offer you must be a 5-level PJ (3-levels will be considered on a case by case basis) AND you must be willing to live in the local area (within 100mi - Phoenix is OK after a small Prog-Tour) AND you must consider this a part-time joband not a weekend club.
Call MSgt Victor Villasenor at dsn 228-3490 or Commercial (520)228-3490
Reservist and AGR Pararescuemen and CROs.
If you are interested contract:
DSN 854-6891 or 854-4973
MSgt Tery Moore OR TSgt Chris Tellis
COMM (502) 364-9424 (502) 364-9422
DSN: 989-4424 or 989-4422
Recruiting & Retention Superintendent Telephone:
Recruiting Office Supervisor
Telephone: (502) 364-9422
Selection Team phone numbers and address:
Pararescue Indoctrination Course
1170 Medina Base Road
Lackland AFB,TX 78236-5506
Toll Free 1-800-438-2696
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