News>CAP cadets get taste of pararescue career field
Staff Sgt. Richard Dunn provides instruction on proper repelling techniques to Civil Air Patrol cadets as part of the advanced pararescue orientation course at the Pima County Rescue Training Center in Tucson, Ariz., June 21, 2012. The 10-day course introduced CAP cadets to the operational PJ career field. Dunn is a pararescueman with the 306th Rescue Squadron (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Luke Johnson)
Civil Air Patrol cadets tie knots during one of their skills stations during the Monster Mash, which was the final event of the advanced pararescue orientation course at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., June 23, 2012. The event tested their ability to recall everything they learned during the 10-day course. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Luke Johnson)
by Master Sgt. Luke Johnson
943rd Rescue Group Public Affairs
6/28/2012 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. (AFNS) --
The 306th Rescue Squadron hosted more than 20 Civil Air Patrol cadets during the advanced pararescue orientation course here June 13-23.
The course is a 10-day challenge that tests CAP cadets both mentally and physically as they are constantly evaluated on the stringent requirements of the pararescue, combat rescue officer, and survival, evasion, resistance, escape career fields.
"The physical training standards are very high; we base a lot of our PT standards on Air Force special forces PT standards," said CAP Capt. Nick N. Carvan, the advanced pararescue orientation course assistant course director. "They have early mornings and late nights, very high academic, physical standards, all day every day. We don't ask them to do a good job; we demand they exceed the standards every time."
Prior to the cadets being accepted into the course, they must pass a one-week PJ orientation course at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., where they learn the basics of what it takes to succeed in the Air Force special operations career field. Advanced pararescue orientation course introduces the cadets to the day-to-day operations of a PJ.
The advanced pararescue orientation course curriculum introduces the students to PJ/special tactics team operations, technical rescues, medical training, team building and physical conditioning through class lecture and hands on training in the field.
"(The cadets) must have a never quit attitude, strong mental fortitude," said Carvan. "They must learn to push themselves far beyond their perceived limits. We force them to learn that they can exceed those limits and push through farther than they ever thought they could."
For Staff Sgt. Richard Dunn, a pararescueman with the 306th RQS, seeing the cadets grow both mentally and physically is what makes teaching the demanding 10-day course very rewarding.
"I do see in the kids, (who are) very disorganized, when they first come here, get past their mistakes and bounce back," said Dunn. "The looks on their faces, the happiness and joy of being able to accomplish whatever is put in front of them, the little smiles and pats on the back is what makes it worthwhile for me."
Dunn emphasized that any young adult within the Civil Air Patrol, with the right attitude, can complete this demanding course and push themselves far beyond their expectations.
"Someone who is willing to get off the couch and set down the videogame controller, also someone who is willing to go out and achieve something for themselves, push that extra mile, pretty much anyone can do this," said Dunn. "They just have to take the first step."
CAP Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Brent Sacks, who has aspirations of being a Navy SEAL, said the course has given him insight into what it takes to make it through the rigors of SEAL training.
"Anybody will tell you it's all mental, anyone can train physically for this course, (and) those who don't prepare mentally will wash out of the course," Sacks said. "This course has given me a lot more confidence in being able to deal with the rigors of the demanding special ops career field training."
Dunn feels that this course prepares young future leaders, regardless of what career field they take on and any difficult challenges they may face.
"This is a valuable course that is going to change these kid's lives; it teaches them how to be leaders by learning how to follow first, then learning to lead, staying organized and keeping motivated," said Dunn.
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6/29/2012 11:13:11 AM ET SSgt Dunns harness and carabiner set up is dangerously configured. By threading the Petzl locking carabiner through the waist and leg tie in points and clipping into an anchor using the Mammut biner hes tri loaded the Petzl biner. Carabiners are designed to be loaded along their spine i.e. top to bottom v. side to side. The Petzl biner shown is likely rated for around 25kN along its spine but only rated to 7kN in a cross-load or open gate configuration. It would be very easy to generate forces in excess of 7kN during a sudden fall off the tower. This scenario would be dangerously intensified if static ropes are used. Further by threading the Petzl biner with the gate towards the member it would be difficult to visually verify that the gate is closed and locked. Properly configured this recreational hardware would be more than capable of withstanding the forces generated through this type of scenario.