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Pararescue

Senior Airman Eric Humphrey (left) and Staff Sgt. Andrew Rios, both 82nd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron pararescuemen, arrive on scene to attend to simulated casualties at a mock crash site during a training mission in the Grand Bara Desert, Djibouti, Oct. 21, 2011. After parachuting into the drop zone, Rios' team had to locate casualties, provide care and evacuate them to safety as a part of the scenario. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Renae Saylock)

Senior Airman Eric Humphrey (left) and Staff Sgt. Andrew Rios, both 82nd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron pararescuemen, arrive on scene to attend to simulated casualties at a mock crash site during a training mission in the Grand Bara Desert, Djibouti, Oct. 21, 2011. After parachuting into the drop zone, Rios' team had to locate casualties, provide care and evacuate them to safety as a part of the scenario. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Renae Saylock)

A U.S. Air Force pararescueman, 58th Rescue Squadron, perpares to land during a military freefall jump Jan. 11, 2012, at Wendover Field, Utah. Pararescuemen are trained to provide emergency medical treatment in adverse terrain and conditions in combat or peacetime. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Daniel Hughes/Released)

A U.S. Air Force pararescueman, 58th Rescue Squadron, perpares to land during a military freefall jump Jan. 11, 2012, at Wendover Field, Utah. Pararescuemen are trained to provide emergency medical treatment in adverse terrain and conditions in combat or peacetime. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Daniel Hughes/Released)

NEW ORLEANS -- Tech. Sgt. Lem Torres and a young boy are lifted to safety from the roof of the child's flooded home. The pararescueman is from 38th Rescue Squadron at Moody Air Force Base, Ga., and is deployed to New Orleans for Hurricane Katrina search-and-rescue operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Manuel J. Martinez)

NEW ORLEANS -- Tech. Sgt. Lem Torres and a young boy are lifted to safety from the roof of the child's flooded home. The pararescueman is from 38th Rescue Squadron at Moody Air Force Base, Ga., and is deployed to New Orleans for Hurricane Katrina search-and-rescue operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Manuel J. Martinez)

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- Senior Airman Christopher Harding gathers his parachute after landing in Lake Mead. A pararescueman with the 55th Rescue Squadron here, he had just jumped out of a C-130 Hercules as part of a rescue and recovery exercise. The squadron has 16 pararescueman who were involved in recovery missions during Hurricane Katrina and Rita. (U.S. Air Force photo by Julie Ray)

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- Senior Airman Christopher Harding gathers his parachute after landing in Lake Mead. A pararescueman with the 55th Rescue Squadron here, he had just jumped out of a C-130 Hercules as part of a rescue and recovery exercise. The squadron has 16 pararescueman who were involved in recovery missions during Hurricane Katrina and Rita. (U.S. Air Force photo by Julie Ray)

A pararescueman prepares a raft for a survivor during a crash recovery scenario March 22 in the Gulf of Mexico. He is assigned to the 38th Rescue Squadron from Moody Air Force Base, Ga.,  and is taking part in the base's operational readiness exercise, Commando Angel. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Joshua T. Jasper)

A pararescueman prepares a raft for a survivor during a crash recovery scenario March 22 in the Gulf of Mexico. He is assigned to the 38th Rescue Squadron from Moody Air Force Base, Ga., and is taking part in the base's operational readiness exercise, Commando Angel. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Joshua T. Jasper)

OVER LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Airmen from the 346th and 342nd Training Squadrons perform a high-altitude, low-opening parachute jump onto the base's parade grounds below Feb. 21.  The proficiency training exercise had combat controllers and pararescuemen exiting the aircraft at 9,500 feet, traveling at 130 knots, and landing on a precise target at the drop zone.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Lance S. Cheung)

OVER LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Airmen from the 346th and 342nd Training Squadrons perform a high-altitude, low-opening parachute jump onto the base's parade grounds below Feb. 21. The proficiency training exercise had combat controllers and pararescuemen exiting the aircraft at 9,500 feet, traveling at 130 knots, and landing on a precise target at the drop zone. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Lance S. Cheung)

FILE PHOTO -- Pararescuemen from the 102nd Rescue Squadron, New York Air Guard, fastrope from an HH-60G helicopter into Lake George. The HH-60G Pave Hawk is equipped with an all-weather radar which enables the crew to avoid inclement weather. To extend their range, Pave Hawks are equipped with a retractable in-flight refueling probe and internal auxiliary fuel tanks. Pave Hawks are also equipped with a rescue hoist with a 200-foot cable and 600-pound lift capability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Ken Wright)

FILE PHOTO -- Pararescuemen from the 102nd Rescue Squadron, New York Air Guard, fastrope from an HH-60G helicopter into Lake George. The HH-60G Pave Hawk is equipped with an all-weather radar which enables the crew to avoid inclement weather. To extend their range, Pave Hawks are equipped with a retractable in-flight refueling probe and internal auxiliary fuel tanks. Pave Hawks are also equipped with a rescue hoist with a 200-foot cable and 600-pound lift capability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Ken Wright)

DJIBOUTI, Africa (AFPN) -- An Air Force pararescueman surfaces after dive currency training off the coast here. The Airman is a Reservist from the 304th Rescue Squadron at Portland International Airport, Ore. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ricky A. Bloom)

DJIBOUTI, Africa (AFPN) -- An Air Force pararescueman surfaces after dive currency training off the coast here. The Airman is a Reservist from the 304th Rescue Squadron at Portland International Airport, Ore. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ricky A. Bloom)

Air Force Pararescuemen, also known as PJs, are the only DoD elite combat forces specifically organized, trained, equipped, and postured to conduct full spectrum Personnel Recovery (PR) to include both conventional and unconventional combat rescue operations. These Battlefield Airmen are the most highly trained and versatile Personnel Recovery specialists in the world. Pararescue is the nation's force of choice to execute the most perilous, demanding, and extreme rescue missions anytime, anywhere across the globe. The 500+ PJs are assigned to Guardian Angel and Special Tactics Squadrons throughout the Active Duty, Guard, and Reserve Air Force components. They operate most often as independent teams but routinely serve alongside with other US and Allied Special Operations Forces.

Mission
To rescue, recover, and return American or Allied forces in times of danger or extreme duress. Whether shot down or isolated behind enemy lines; surrounded, engaged, wounded, or captured by the enemy; PJs will do whatever required to deny the enemy a victory and bring our warriors home to fight another day. "Leave no Airman, Marine, Soldier, or Sailor behind" is our nation's supreme promise and responsibility to our brave war fighters. The Air Force holds true to this moral imperative. Personnel Recovery is an Air Force Core Function; one of twelve functions the Air Force provides the nation. The PJs are the elite ground forces that provide our nation with the capability to execute this noble responsibility.

Capabilites
To execute the PR mission, Pararescue teams assault, secure, and dominate the rescue objective area utilizing any available DoD or Allied, air, land, or sea asset. Their qualifications and capabilities are extensive. All PJs are qualified experts in Advanced Weapons and Small Unit Tactics, Airborne and Military Free Fall, both High Altitude Low Opening (HALO) and High Altitude High Opening (HAHO) parachute operations, Combat Divers, High Angle/Confined Space Rescue operations, Small Boat/Vehicle Craft utilization, Rescue Swimmers, and Battlefield Trauma/Paramedics. All can fast rope/rappel/hoist from any vertical lift aircraft to both land and open ocean rescue objectives. All PJs can perform both static line and HALO jump operations utilizing boats, vehicles, or other equipment from any fixed wing aircraft. In addition, 1 in 12 personnel are tandem jump qualified and can HALO/HAHO both equipment and non-jump personnel into the objective area. As required, all PJs can jump in with and utilize extrication devices to remove war fighters or civilians trapped in wreckage or collapse structures. PJs also utilize the latest subsurface technology to locate and recover submerged equipment or personnel.

Recent History
Since 9/11 alone, these elite warriors have executed over 12,000 life saving, combat rescue missions. They've also eliminated and captured numerous enemy combatants during the execution of these missions. Additionally, because of their unique capabilities, they have been called upon to rescue over 5000 civilians worldwide during catastrophic natural disasters and other responses.

Decorations
PJs are the most highly decorated Air Force enlisted force. They've been awarded one Medal of Honor, 12 Air Force Crosses, and 105 Silver Stars.

Their motto, "These Things We Do, That Others May Live," affirms Pararescue's dedication and commitment to saving lives and self-sacrifice. As of January 2012, 10 pararescueman have been killed in action and paid the ultimate sacrifice during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Engage

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