Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
This is coolbert:
Pararescue the PJ!!
"Gallant is a precious word: they deserve it". - - Eric Sevareid.
Here is a military occupation that demands the highest possible level of physical fitness, speciality skill [emergency medical technician], and just plain guts. TheU.S. Air Force [USAF] Pararescue man.
Men who have comported themselves on the battlefield in the most astounding way. Rescuing down American aviators behind [for the most part] enemy lines, at great danger to themselves, doing so with panache', seemingly heedless to danger and difficulty.
A military occupation that has been for decades almost SOLELY in the purview of the enlisted ranks. Persons [pararesuce] who undergo a grueling course JUST TO BECOME QUALIFIED! It is said that out of every one hundred  applicants [persons expressing a desire to become a pararescue man, only THREE  will actually receive the coveted maroon beret.
"Part of the little-known Air Force Special Tactics community and long an enlisted preserve"
The wearing of a beret by American military men is now common. But at one time, was NOT so. ONLY Special Forces '["Green Berets"] and pararescuemen [PJ's] were authorized to wear a beret. As a symbol of their elite status and the repute with which they were held. "EARNED, NOT GIVEN!!"
"They also wear the maroon beret, as a symbol of their elite status."
There are, world-wide, within the USAF ONLY two hundred  pararescue positions [slots] available, OF WHICH ABOUT ONLY ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY  ARE ACTUALLY FILLED WITH QUALIFIED PERSONNEL! So difficult and demanding is the qualification course, and retention thereafter!
Again, a very high degree of physical fitness is a requisite for the PJ. EVEN BEFORE ENLISTMENT, APPLICANTS TO THE PJ PROGRAM MUST HAVE A FAIRLY HIGH AND DEMONSTRABLE LEVEL OF FITNESS!! Determined by a USAF recruiter BEFORE enlistment. This is the PAST test! NOT easy, not for the fainthearted, a filter mechanism to weed out the weak and less motivated. THIS ALL BEFORE ENLISTMENT AND ACCEPTANCE INTO THE PJ PROGRAM!!
* "PAST Test -- First hopeful candidates must pass the Physical Aptitude Stamina Test. This can be given by a local Air Force Recruiter. It consists of 45 push-ups in 2mins, 6 chin/pull-ups 1min, 45 sit-ups 2mins, 45 flutter-kicks 2mins, a 1.5 mile run 10min 45 sec, a 500 m swim under 14min, and 2x20 underwaters. It is a pass fail test."
The entire PJ program, quite often requiring TWO YEARS to complete, consists of a variety of programs, beginning with the Indoctrination Course.
"The process of becoming a 'PJ' is known informally as 'the Pipeline.' (Even more informally as 'Superman School.') Successfully completing it takes about two years of intense physical and mental effort. Of the dozens who begin the process, only the most determined, sometimes as few as four to six, graduate."
The two-year ordeal begins with the "Indoctrination Course". Nine-weeks of hell during which an ever increasing and more demanding and amazing level of physical fitness is achieved for those that are willing and able! To include program of PT [physical training], supervised by MEDICAL DOCTORS specially trained in physiological development. A strenuous course combining physical and mental demands with extreme stress, again, to weed out the slackers, the no-can-do and those lacking initiative.
* Indoctrination Course, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas -- This 9-week (8 trng/1 admin )Indoctrination Course recruits, selects and trains future PJs through extensive physical conditioning. Training accomplished at this course includes physiological training, obstacle course, rucksack marches, dive physics, dive tables, metric manipulations, medical terminology, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, weapons qualifications, PJ history and leadership reaction course.
Further courses that are part of the PJ program include:
* U.S. Army Airborne School -- "basic parachuting skills".
* U.S. Air Force Combat Divers School -- "Trainees become combat divers".
* U.S. Navy Underwater Egress Training -- "how to safely escape from an aircraft that has ditched in the water".
* U.S. Air Force Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape Course "SERE" -- "This two and a half-week course provides service members with training in survival, evading capture, and dealing with being taken prisoner."
* U.S. Air Force Arctic Survival School -- "This five day course instructs trainees in 'the arctic environment, medical, personal protection (clothing, shelter construction, and firecraft), sustenance (food and water procurement), and signaling.'".
* U.S. Army Military Free Fall Parachutist School -- "This course instructs trainees in free fall parachuting procedures."
* Paramedic Course -- "This 24-week course teaches how to manage trauma patients prior to evacuation and provide emergency medical treatment."
* Pararescue Recovery Specialist Course -- "Qualifies airmen as pararescue recovery specialists for assignment to any pararescue unit worldwide."
Upon graduation from the PJ program, the now qualified PJ is a:
* Emergency medical technician [EMT] with nationally recognized qualifications. "Upon graduation, an EMT-Paramedic certification is awarded through the National Registry."
* A survivalist.
* A person with the highest possible level of developed physical fitness.
* A highly-trained specialist who in furtherance of his mission, can pick up a rifle and fight at a moments notice.
* That free-fall parachutist course qualifies the participant for HALO and HAHOmissions. Using oxygen supplement when jumping from the stratosphere!
* PJ's have to be combat trained troops. ABLE TO EVEN PERFORM A "LONE WOLF" MISSION! A LONE PJ, OPERATING AUTONOMOUSLY, FAR BEHIND ENEMY LINES, LOCATING AND BRINGING TO SAFETY A DOWNED PILOT, PERHAPS EVEN HAVING TO FIGHT TO REACH THE MISSING AVIATOR.
* PJ's have to be able to operate IN ANY ENVIRONMENT IN THE WORLD. Jungle, desert, arctic, oceanic, etc. A lot of emphasis is placed during the selection and training phase on swimming ability. The term "Superman School" is not without foundation!
* Physical requirements and stress while on a mission are extreme. The PJ will be carrying at the MINIMUM about ninety pounds of gear, to include the basic combat load, the existence load, and the combat medic load. AND DURING A MISSION THE PJ MIGHT EVEN FIND IT NECESSARY TO CARRY A WOUNDED PILOT TO SAFETY ON HIS BACK!!!
The PJ! "Gallant is a precious word: they deserve it". YES!