If your plane goes down and you are in need of a rescue you can’t do better than U.S. Air Force pararescuemen or “PJs.” The mission of the “PJs” is to rescue and provide basic medical treatment to personnel in both humanitarian and combat environments. This may include everything from Senior Airman Jason D. Cunningham’s heroic action at the Battle of Takur Ghar, where he was posthumously awarded an Air Force Cross, to rescue missions conducted during the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima earthquake in Japan. The pararescue career field is owned by Air Combat Command; however, a select few join units in Air Force Special Operations Command which is also responsible for training, manning, and equipping PJ units. Their intense training and demonstrated capability have allowed the “PJs” to repeatedly live up to their motto: “That Others May Live.”
Air Force Pararescuemen in Action l Photos
'That others may live'
An HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter prepares to land during joint training of the 212th Rescue Squadron pararescuemen and members of Baker Company, 3rd Platoon, 509th Infantry Regiment (Airborne), on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Sept. 21, 2011. In this specific training scenario, the pararescuemen used the helicopter to reach members of Baker Company who were hit by an improvised explosive device and were under heavy fire. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Zachary Wolf Senior Airman Steven Nizbet, a 320th Special Tactics Squadron pararescueman, looks for trapped survivors at the Sendai Airport, March 16, 2011. Members of the 320th STS, stationed out of Kadena Air Base, deployed to Sendai Airport to help clear the runway and make it ready for fixed-wing aircraft traffic. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Samuel Morse In an exercise scenario, pararescuemen authenticate the pilot and co-pilot of a downed U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft during the mass casualty phase of the Patriot Saint exercise at Fort Polk, La., May 17, 2012. The goal of the exercise was to challenge pararescuemen to successfully execute combat search and rescue missions in real time while tactically solving en route fuel, communication and opposing force hurdles. The pararescuemen were from the 920th Rescue Wing at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla. U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Jeff Walston Staff Sgt. BIll Cenna, 212th Rescue Squadron pararescueman, prepares to move a patient on a litter while the HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter lands during training at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Sept. 21, 2011. The training focused on quick care under fire and also gave training to Baker Company, 3rd Platoon, 509th Infantry Regiment (Airborne), on how to react when pararescuemen arrive. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Zachary Wolf Two U.S. Air Force HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters from the 66th Rescue Squadron maneuver behind an HC-130 King aircraft to perform a helicopter air refueling at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona Oct. 16, 2011, during Angel Thunder 2011. Angel Thunder is an Air Combat Command-sponsored personnel recovery/combat search and rescue exercise that combines Department of Defense (DoD) and non-DoD assets. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Andy M. Kin Senior Airman Eric Humphrey, 82nd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron pararescueman, throws a colored smoke grenade to mark his team's position during a training scenario in the Grand Bara Desert, Djibouti, Oct. 21, 2011. Using a colored smoke signal is just one way that the pararescuemen designate their position to an air evacuation team. U.S. Air Force photo A pararescueman parachutes into the drop zone at Camp Atterbury, Ind., June 14, 2011, during a Precision Jumpmaster Course taught by members of the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Special Tactics Squadron. The three-week course also included ground training at the Kentucky Air Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., and water jump training in Selfridge, Mich. U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Phil Speckcourse A pararescueman secures a sector of the landing zone before assisting “injured” personnel during an exercise at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 21. 2010. The exercise tested the rescue squadron’s ability to provide medical aid to U.S. and coalition forces. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Boitz An HH-60 Pave Hawk from the 26th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron lands during a mass casualty exercise Dec. 24, 2010, near Kandahar, Afghanistan. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Eric Harris Air Force pararescuemen and Navy SEALs participate in free-fall parachute training Jan. 21, 2011, over Marine Corps Base Hawaii. The airmen were assigned to the New York Air National Guard’s 103rd Rescue Squadron. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Reece E. Lodder Senior Airman Jelly Larsen, pararescueman of the 64th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron scans his sector as the rest of his team enters a building during a training exercise at Joint Base Balad, Iraq, Aug. 4, 2009. The 64th ERQS provided combat search and rescue support to coalition forces in the Iraqi theater of operations. U.S. Air Force photo by Chris Hubenthal-Magarian U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Kevin Welander, 26th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron, scans his sector during a mission in support of Operation Enduring Freedom aboard an HH-60 Pave Hawk near Kandahar, Afghanistan, Dec. 24, 2010. HH-60 "Pedro" aircrews were on alert 24/7 to provide personnel recovery and medical evacuation support. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Eric Harris A U.S. Air Force pararescueman from the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron, Air Force Special Operations Command, Hurlburt Field, Fla., and members of various rescue teams climb a ladder to get to a 25-year-old woman who had been trapped in a collapsed building for seven days Jan. 19, 2010, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. U.S. Department of Defense assets were deployed to assist in the relief effort under way after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit the city Jan. 12, 2010. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James L. Harper Jr. Brig. Gen. Jack L. Briggs, the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing commander, test fires the M14 Enhanced Battle Rifle during a training mission at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Sept. 24, 2010. The training mission, led by the 33rd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron, provided a glimpse of what the 33rd ERQS brings to the fight. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Boitz U.S. Air Force personnel aboard an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter take off from Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Nov. 19, 2011. The airmen were assigned to the 83rd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Matt Hecht