Overview & Capabilities

Pararescuemen are embedded with Special Operations Command assets to provide personnel recovery capability and life-saving medical treatment as expert combat medical professionals in hostile environments. Approximately 40 percent of pararescuemen are in special operations and receive additional special operations training to better support teammates in the U.S. Navy SEALs and U.S. Army Special Forces.

Pararescuemen are among the most highly trained tactical rescue and emergency trauma specialists in the U.S. military. They must maintain an Emergency Medical Technician - Paramedic qualification throughout their careers. With this medical and rescue expertise, along with their deployment capabilities, PJs are able to perform life-saving rescue missions in the world's most remote areas. PJs do all this, with the intensity of a special operations mission set.

Pararescuemen provide emergency and life-saving services for the most dangerous missions the U.S. military performs and frequently deploy with U.S. Navy SEALs and Army Special Forces.

They are trained to shoot, move, and communicate alongside other special operations forces, while also saving lives with their rescue techniques and medical expertise. PJs specialize in search and recovery dives, swift water rescue, confined space rescue, high-angle rescue and DNA and classified material gathering.

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Pararescuemen endure some of the toughest training offered in the U.S. military. Their training, as well as their unique mission, earns them the right to wear the maroon beret. Some of their unique training includes:

  • Indoctrination Course, Lackland AFB, Texas -- This nine-week course recruits, selects and trains future PJs through extensive physical conditioning. Training accomplished at this course includes physiological training, obstacle course, marches, dive physics, dive tables, metric manipulations, medical terminology, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, weapons qualifications, PJ history and leadership reaction course. 
  • U.S. Army Airborne School, Fort Benning, Georgia -- Trainees learn the basic parachuting skills required to infiltrate an objective area by static line airdrop in a three-week course.
  • U.S. Air Force Combat Diver School, Panama City, Florida -- Trainees become combat divers, learning to use scuba and closed-circuit diving equipment to covertly infiltrate denied areas, conduct sub-surface searches and basic recovery operations. The six-week course provides training to depths of 130 feet, stressing development of maximum underwater mobility under various operating conditions. 
  • U.S. Navy Underwater Egress Training, Pensacola Naval Air Station, Florida -- This course teaches how to safely escape from an aircraft that has ditched in the water. The one-day instruction includes principles, procedures and techniques necessary to get out of a sinking aircraft.
  • U.S. Air Force Basic Survival School, Fairchild AFB, Washington -- This two-and-a half-week course teaches basic survival techniques for remote areas. Instruction includes principles, procedures, equipment and techniques, which enable individuals to survive, regardless of climatic conditions or unfriendly environments and return home. 
  • U.S. Army Military Free Fall Parachutist School, Fort Bragg, North Carolina and Yuma Proving Grounds, Arizona -- This course instructs trainees in free fall parachuting procedures. The five-week course provides wind tunnel training, in-air instruction focusing on student stability, aerial maneuvers, air sense and parachute opening procedures. 
  • Paramedic Course, Kirtland AFB, New Mexico -- This 22-week course teaches how to manage trauma patients prior to evacuation and provide emergency medical treatment. Upon graduation, an EMT-Paramedic certification is awarded through the National Registry. 
  • Pararescue Recovery Specialist Course, Kirtland AFB, New Mexico -- Qualifies airmen as pararescue recovery specialists for assignment to any pararescue unit worldwide. The 24-week training includes field medical care and extrication basics, field tactics, mountaineering, combat tactics, advanced parachuting and helicopter insertion/extraction.
  • Special Tactics Training Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Florida -- During this specialize course for PJs going through initial training to special operations, Airmen receive five-level training, including infiltration, exfiltration methods and additional combat training.