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Air Force Pararescue Jumpers| You Don't want To Know What It Takes.

Updated on November 4, 2012

Pararescue | So That Others May Live

If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to become an Air Force Pararescue Jumper or “PJ” as they are often called, there is one very important question you must ask yourself:

“Am I willing to do whatever it takes to save a person’s life?”

Once fully trained, a Pararescue Jumper often finds himself in some of the most compromising and dangerous situations on earth in his commitment to saving the lives of others. Long before these crucial moments arise, each Pararescue Jumper has determined that nothing that will stop him from completing the mission at hand. Putting himself in life threatening situations becomes common place and ‘all in a day’s work’ for these highly skilled and extremely brave servicemen.

The first step in becoming an Air Force Pararescue Jumper is to pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), offered nationwide and developed and maintained by the Department of Defense. This is a timed test covering multiple aptitudes including general, mechanical, electrical and administrative and subsections of these areas of skill. The ASVAB determines an applicants’ overall compatibility for their chosen field of service. To become a Pararescue Jumper, one must score a G44 (General Skill Section) on ASVAB before continuing on to the next level of physical strength and endurance testing. Rescue missions are often be carried out with the Pararescue Jumper packing hundreds of pounds of gear and medical equipment on his back. It will sometimes be necessary for him to physically carry a full grown man out of a danger zone. For these and other assignments, it is absolutely crucial that the applicant be in peak physical condition.

Once these criteria have been met, the process of becoming a Pararescue Jumper can begin. Informally, this process is often called “the Pipeline” or even “Superman School”. Many begin this hardcore training, yet only the most dedicated will complete and graduate. With the highest dropout rates in the service, only the strongest and most determined will survive.

Next, Trainees attend a Pararescue Indoctrination Course before continuing on to specialized training courses including Combat Dive School, Army Airborne, National Registry for Paramedic Survival and Military Free-Fall Parachutist. After this the Pararescue Apprentice Course is followed. This combines all previously learned skills and adds even a few more. The Pararescue Jumper is then assigned to a Rescue or Special Tactics team to begin on-the-job training. Depending on where he is assigned, a Pararescue Jumper may receive further training at Advanced Skills Training levels. These years of learning are both physically and mentally challenging, however, once completed, a Pararescue Jumper will have the skills necessary to perform as one of the most highly trained combat medics in the world.

The daily life of a Pararescue Jumper is one seen from the perspective of a person with a unique sense of self sacrifice and willingness to overcome all obstacles standing in the way of him completing his mission which is saving lives. On any given day, the Pararescue Jumper may have to adapt to very real, life threatening situations. He might be dropped by parachute behind enemy lines in a war zone or be lowered from a helicopter over the raging ocean to rescue those stranded at sea. The Pararescue Jumper must be capable of handling all types of conventional and non-conventional combat rescue operations with strength and confidence.

With a mission to ‘rescue, recover and return’ American Allied forces in times of danger or extreme duress, these highly trained servicemen will stop at nothing to get the job done.


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      gio 3 years ago

      i want to join the US PJ... i will risk my live so others may live