2002 Definition of a PJ
by John Cassidy (retired USAF PJ)
LINK TO JOHN'S WEBSITE
Officially established as an Air Force Specialty in July
1947, the linage of this occupation began with search and rescue operations
conducted during WWII. Although the
original operational purpose of Pararescue was oriented to saving the lives of
military aircrews downed on the battlefield often in enemy controlled territory,
the diversity of capabilities led to the use of Pararescue forces since its
conception in the full spectrum of situations to which the United States
responds to militarily or provides military resources during times of disasters
and emergencies to save lives.
Qualification training to become an apprentice PJ begins
with a selection process that involves physical fitness, academic testing, and a
determination that the candidate has an intense motivation to be a Pararescueman.
If selected to continue training, the Pararescue student enters a 12-month
training schedule that includes Basic Airborne qualification, HALO
qualification, Combat Swimmer/Diver qualification, basic combat infantry skills,
and other training associated with Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape
(SERE), basic emergency medical training, combat medical training, and paramedic certification.
After successful completion of all this training, the new PJ has earned
the right to wear the maroon beret with Pararescue badge and bloused jump boots.
Bloused trousers with combat boots and parachutist badge have been part of the Pararescue uniform since the conception of Pararescue. The distinctive maroon beret with Pararescue crest was approved for wear on May 26, 1966. Other specialized duties have been added over the years to the basic essential tasks performed by all Pararescuemen. Scuba/combat swimmer (SCUBA) qualification was added in 1964 and HALO/freefall qualification was added in 1985. Thus all Pararescuemen perform the duties and are entitled to wear the basic or higher level badges of Parachutist, Diver-SCUBA, Military Free Fall, and aircrew.
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