Into The Fire: Facts

Video highlights from Inside Combat Rescue


  • Pararescue jumpers strive to treat the wounded within 60 minutes of the time of injury, also called the "golden hour," during which time the chances for survival are highest.

  • New air force candidates must be under the age of 28, and over age 17.

  • The physical fitness assessment of PJs is based in part on an annual fitness test comprised of pull-ups, sit-ups, push-ups, a three-mile run, and a 1500-meter swim.

  • The evaluation of Combat Rescue Officer (CRO) candidates includes both psychological and physical fitness tests that include evaluation of skills in day and night field exercises, water confidence exercises, endurance run, and a four-mile road march carrying a 40 pound rucksack, and an interview.

  • To become PJs, the men must pass rigorous training that starts with basic military training followed by advanced training in specialized courses and schools including pararescue recovery courses, parachutist and freefall parachutist schools, and combat divers school.

  • PJs must be prepared to execute rescue missions under a variety of circumstances, including the extraction of hostages taken, or SCUBA dive searches for people stranded in different bodies of water.

  • According to some media reports, over 16,500 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were cleared or detonated in Afghanistan in 2011 alone.

  • Heavily-armored transports known as Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, or MRAPs for short, were introduced in 2007 and feature v-shaped undersides (in addition to the boost in armor) to help deflect IED blasts up and away from the vehicles.

  • In addition to the high-tech measures of IED-detection employed by the US military (which include radar and electronic jamming signals), dogs have been employed to sniff out the hidden bombs.

  • These bomb-sniffing dogs can range as far as 400 yards in front of those they're protecting.

  • Although pararescue and the PJs have been around for much longer, the Combat Rescue Officer role was only created in 2000 in recognition of the need for a career position in the vital field of combat rescue.

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