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Air Force Pararescue: Training and Selection

Posted in Blog

Pararescuemen or PJ’s are part of the United States Air Force Special Operations Command as well as Air Combat Command operators. These guys are responsible for battleground recovery, medical personnel care, combat rescue and search. They operate in every environment- whether hostile or peaceful.

The PJ’s were incorporated in March 1946 and are known by alternate names such as Maroon Berets, Air Commandos, Rescue Rangers, etc. Their simple motto is “These things we do that others may live”, which inspires them and us every time. You will observe, it is a fairly small unit in the Air Force but serves as one of the most powerful ones.

Air Force

Your Selection Process is extremely critical:

Your role of a pararescuer is very critical and includes a full range personnel rescue operation.

  • You need to be a US citizen
  • Must be aged between 17 and 39 years
  • High School Diploma or GED with at least 15 college credits, completion of Basic military training, specialty course and paramedic course as well as certification from National Registry for Emergency Medical Technicians.
  • As a candidate, you have to pass a 100 point physical test
  • A great AVSAB score- Mechanical 55, General 55/44, AFQT 50 and weight lighting of 70lbs and more
  • You need to a Pass Physical Fitness test
  • Candidates are taken from different areas of Air Force and Para Military
  • You have to have a near perfect vision

Your training process:

Your entire journey to become a pararescuer is extremely difficult and requires mental stamina as well as physical strength. As candidates, you have to undergo rigorous selection process that is defined under following categories-

Preparation – This includes basic military training that can last up to 10 weeks
Assessment– Para-selection course that lasts for about a week
Initial Qualification Training– You need to undergo tough development courses of more than 60 weeks to be able to qualify to start training
Mission Qualification Training and Continuation Training are variable depending on the need of the unit.

Your training schedule includes:

As a pararescuer you are trained on the following grounds extremely well-

  • Air Force Combat Dive Course
  • Basic Airborne course
  • Military free-fall course
  • USAF underwater egress training
  • SERE training
  • Special operations combat medic course
  • Pararescue and Recovery Apprentice Course

Pararescuers have been involved in many missions as well as many wars till date. You will notice, pararescuers played an important role in Vietnam War in 1970, Korean War in 1953, Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, amongst others