Visions Of War: Facts

Video highlights from Inside Combat Rescue


  • During water training, various levels of pool harassment may be undertaken by an instructor, where the instructor may try to take your mask, cut off your air supply, and other maneuvers at his discretion.

  • During the disastrous 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in Northern California, when a highway collapsed, trapping motorists, Pararescuemen were on-scene, and were the only rescue personnel willing to crawl under collapsed concrete to reach survivors.

  • After survival school, part of the PJ training where a serviceman is sent into the woods with a backpack and pocket knife, you are expected to weigh the same as when you went in. This might mean eating a lot of bugs.

  • PJs can carry up to 170 pounds of equipment when jumping into a rescue.

  • Dating back to September 11th, 2001, Pararescue men have completed over 12,000 lifesaving missions in combat, and over 5,000 civilian rescue missions worldwide.

  • To date, Pararescue Jumpers are the most highly decorated enlisted force in the United States Air Force, having received one Medal of Honor, 12 Air Force Crosses, and 105 Silver Stars.

  • In instances when inserting an I/V cannot be easily achieved, a PJ may use an intraosseous (IO) device instead. An IO is inserted directly into the tibia, femur, or humerus bones in a patient's leg or upper arm.

  • The HH-60G PAVE Hawk helicopter used by the PJs has a top speed of 184 miles per hour.

  • Over 20 PAVE Hawks were used in support of recovery efforts in and around New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. Flying around the clock for nearly a month, these operations helped recover 4,300 victims of the storm.

  • One painkiller at the PJs' disposal is informally referred to as a "fentanyl pop," named so because the drug is administered like a lollipop: a dissolvable lozenge, with sugar added, on the end of a stick. It packs a bigger punch than candy though; the active ingredient is significantly more potent than morphine.

  • Kandahar Province has been one of the bloodiest sites of the conflict in Afghanistan, with roughly 500 Coalition fatalities having occurred there.

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