By expressing an interest in Pararescue (PJ) or Combat Control (CCT), you are taking a big step into a job with high demands, but strong rewards. Wearing the maroon or scarlet beret is a distinction bestowed on very few men. It recognizes dedication to training and personal sacrifice. A trainee must prove he can be trusted to perform the mission no matter what the difficulty or personal risk. To deviate from this requirement puts the lives of many at risk. We demand the best from our force. In making your decision about becoming a PJ/CCT, carefully consider the following:
Age Limit information:
- Retrainee's over 12-13 years in service has usually been the line in the cutoff.
- Exceptions have been made.
- AF cannot bring anyone in over 28 unless member has previous active duty experience which is subtracted from the age to get below the 28.
- AETC is not stopping people based on age except for TAFMS.
- Physiological training qualification for aircrew duties
- High altitude high opening (HAHO) parachuting qualification
- Qualification for aviation service
- Volunteer for hazardous duty, parachute duty, and diving duty
1. A COMBAT CONTROL AND PARARESCUE MISSION.
Picture if you will, the drab, gray days of December 1989. Under the cloak of night, Combat Controllers and Pararescuemen, each weighted down with 100-150 pounds of equipment, silently parachute into the unsuspecting terrain of Noriega's backyard. Combat Controllers (CCT), reaching their destination, immediately clear an airfield, position navigation aids, and set up air traffic control for the follow-on airflow. At the same time, Pararescuemen (PJ's) immediately set up casualty evacuation points to begin evacuating the battlefield casualties on the basis of urgency. Through their selfless efforts, Combat Controllers and Pararescuemen provide the support to make Panama operation "JUST CAUSE" an American military success. This real world mission demonstrates the capabilities of joint Combat Control and Pararescue units--known as special tactics teams. (Copied from: Closer Look, "Focus On the 1723 STSQ," June 1990, by Sarah Schuldheiss.)
2. COMBAT CONTROL MISSION.
The mission of Combat Controllers are similar regardless of the command they are assigned. They employ by air-land-sea tactics into forward, non-permissive environments to establish assault zones with an Air Traffic Control (ATC) capability. The assault zone is either a drop zone (for parachute operations), a landing zone (for fixed wing or helicopter operations), or an extraction zone (for low altitude re-supply). CCT also establishes recovery zones (for surface to air recovery of personnel or equipment), and ground based fire control for AC-130 gunship operations. In addition, CCT provides vital command and control, surveying capabilities, limited weather observations and are qualified in demolition's to clear obstructions and hazards.
3. PARARESCUE MISSION.
Regardless of their command, the primary mission of Pararescue is personnel recovery specialist with emergency medical capabilities in peacetime and combat environments. They deploy by air-land-sea tactics into forward, non-permissive environments and provide the trauma medical care for injured personnel and may act as aircrew gunners and/or scanner on both fixed and rotary wing aircraft. They participate in search and rescue (SAR), combat search and rescue (CSAR), recovery support for NASA and conduct other operations as appropriate.
4. SPECIAL TACTICS TEAMS.
When assigned to the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), Combat Controllers and Pararescuemen are combined into highly trained special tactics teams. A special tactics team frequently operates with Navy SEALS, Army Rangers, and Green Berets in "direct action," airfield seizure and personnel recovery missions in hostile territory. Operating in all climates, day or night, special tactics operators maintain the highest standards of physical fitness and proficiency in the use of light weapons.
5. TECHNICAL EXPERTISE.
Combat Control and Pararescue are highly technical skills that use a variety of special employment techniques. Combat Controllers are skilled air traffic controllers who must complete the same technical training as their ATC counterparts. This training is recognized by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and ATC position ratings are often attained during tower upgrade. Their ATC skills encompassed with unique deployment capabilities make Combat Controllers an irreplaceable asset in the deployment of airlift forces worldwide. Comparatively, Pararescuemen are among the most highly trained emergency trauma specialists in the DOD. They must maintain an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Intermediate or higher qualification throughout their careers. With this medical expertise and their deployment capabilities, Pararescuemen are able to perform life-saving missions in the world's most remote areas.
6. EMPLOYMENT CAPABILITIES.
Combat Controllers and Pararescuemen must be capable of deploying by the most advantageous means into their mission areas. For this reason, a variety of deployment techniques are used by both specialties. The level of training you receive in certain deployment methods will be dependent upon the unit you are assigned. However, most of these deployment capabilities will be taught during initial training.
6.1 Parachute operations (Jumpmaster directed spotting for accuracy)
6.1.1 Static line (low altitude)
22.214.171.124 With combat equipment
126.96.36.199 With SCUBA equipment
188.8.131.52 Into forested areas
184.108.40.206 Into vast bodies of water
6.1.2 High Altitude Low Opening (military free fall)
220.127.116.11 With combat equipment
18.104.22.168 With oxygen
6.1.3 High Altitude High Opening (cross country canopy flight)
22.214.171.124 With combat equipment
126.96.36.199 With oxygen
6.2 Waterborne Infiltration's
6.2.2 Submarine lock-outs
6.2.3 Aircraft boat drops
6.2.4 Rubber Raiding Craft operations
6.2.5 Scout (surface) swimming
6.3 Mountain Operations
6.3.1 Rock/ice climbing
6.3.3 High angle evacuations
6.4 Helicopter Operations
6.4.2 Fast rope
6.4.3 Rope Ladder
6.4.4 Hoist operations (PJs)
6.4.5 Gunner/scanner (PJs)
6.5 Overland Movement
6.5.2 All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs)
6.5.3 Motor vehicle
6.5.4 Team navigation
6.6 Arctic Operations
6.6.1 Cross country skiing
6.6.2 Downhill skiing
7. HISTORY OF PARARESCUE AND COMBAT CONTROL.
A brief history of Pararescue and Combat Control.
There are a lot of incentives for becoming a Pararesceman or Combat Controller. These incentives include: education, distinctive uniforms, travel, and several additional pays.
By completing Pararescue or Combat Control training, you have earned college credits with the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF). Currently, technical and upgrade training is worth over 32 semester hours towards an Associates Degree in Applied Science or Survival and Rescue Operations.
8.2.1 Pararescuemen wear the distinctive maroon beret with flash.
8.2.2 Combat Controllers wear the distinctive scarlet beret with flash.
8.2.3 PJs and CCT are highly recognized throughout the DOD for their special operations capabilities and expertise.
8.3 Travel. Pararescuemen and Combat Controllers travel extensively in support of the Air Force's global mission. You will support sister service components, allied forces, humanitarian relief efforts, and other commitments.
8.4 Additional Pays. Both specialties receive three of the following incentive/special duty pays:
8.4.1 SCUBA/Dive pay: $150.00
8.4.2 Parachutist pay: $150.00 - $225.00*
8.4.3 Special Duty Incentive Pay (SDIP): $110.00 - $275.00**
8.4.4 Demolition's pay: $150.00
* When you become free fall qualified, your pay increases to the $225.00 amount.
** After graduation from all training, you will receive $110 per month in SDIP. Afterwards, it will increase based on skill level achievement and time at that skill level.
9. DUTY LOCATIONS
9.1.1 Hurlburt Field, FL
9.1.2 Holloman AFB, NM CLOSED
9.1.3 Nellis AFB, NE
9.1.4 Kirtland AFB, NM
9.1.5 Lackland AFB, TX
9.1.6 Pope AFB, NC
9.1.7 Moody AFB, GA
9.1.8 Kadena Air Base, Okinawa
9.1.9 Keflavik Air Station, Iceland CLOSED
9.1.10 RAF Mildenhall, United Kingdom
9.1.11 MCChord AFB, WA CLOSED FOR PJs
9.1.12. Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ
9.2 Guard/Reserve Pararescue
9.2.1 Suffolk County, NY
9.2.2 Moffett Field, CA
9.2.3 Portland IAP, OR
9.2.4 Patrick AFB, FL
9.2.5 Kulis ANG, AK
9.2.6 Louisville ANG, KY
9.2.7 Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ
9.3 Combat Control
9.3.1 Pope AFB, NC
9.3.2 Hurlburt Field, FL
9.3.3 McChord AFB, WA
9.3.4 Kadena Air Base, Okinawa
9.3.5 RAF Mildenhall, United Kingdom
9.3.6 Lackland AFB, TX
9.4 Guard Combat Control
9.4.1 Kentucky ANG, 123rd STS
9.4.2. Oregon ANG, 125th STS
10. THE TRAINING PIPELINE.
Your training will take approximately 12-15 months. It includes eight schools for each specialty. You will be offered to take leave at some point during training, but this cannot be guaranteed. Students travel from school to school as a class, with the ranking student in charge. Training consists of the following schools:
10.1 The Pararescue/Combat Rescue Officer Indoctrination Course.
10 weeks, Lackland AFB, TX. The mission of the Indoctrination Course is to recruit, select and train future PJs and CROs. At this school you will participate in extensive physical conditioning with lots of swimming, running, weight training and calisthenics. This course helps prepare you for the rigors of training and the demands of these lifestyles. Other training accomplished at this course includes physiological training, obstacle course, rucksack marches, dive physics, dive tables, metric manipulations, medical terminology, dive terminology, CPR, weapons qualifications, history of PJs, and leadership reaction course. Graduation of this course is "your ticket to ride" the pipeline and begin learning those special skills that make PJs highly regarded special operators.
10.2. The Combat Control Orientation Course. Introduces airmen to Combat Control history, missions, and career field specific skills. Students are required to participate in a rigorous physical fitness program that introduces them to physical exercises that are conducted during the pipeline. The course includes the following events: running, swimming, calisthenics, weight training, sports nutrition, sports medicine, M-16/M-9 weapons qualification, CPR qualification, and Combat Control related skills. Upon graduation, students attend the following pipeline courses: ATC - Air Traffic Control School 15.5 weeks, US Army Airborne Parachutist 3 weeks, US Air Force Combat Survival 2.5 weeks, US Air Force Underwater Egress Training 1 day, and Combat Control School 13 weeks (AFSC awarding course).
10.3 U.S. Army Airborne School. 3 weeks, Fort Benning, GA.
Here you learn the basic parachuting skills required to infiltrate an objective area by static line airdrop. This course includes ground operations week, tower week, and jump week where you make 5 actual parachute jumps. Personnel who complete this training are awarded the basic parachutist rating and are allowed to wear the coveted parachutist's wings.
10.4 U.S. Army Combat Divers School.
4 weeks, Key West, FL. Here you become a combat diver and learn to use SCUBA and the draegger to infiltrate areas undetected. This course provides training to depths of 130 ft, stressing development of maximum underwater mobility under various operating conditions. (NOTE: CCT and STO attend this course during AST training.
10.5 U.S. Navy Underwater Egress Training.
1 day, Pensacola NAS, FL. This course teaches how to safely escape from an aircraft that has ditched in the water. Instruction includes principles, procedures, and techniques necessary to get out of a sinking aircraft. Training requires personnel to actually experience water entry in a training device and perform underwater egress.
10.6 U.S. Air Force Basic Survival School.
2.5 weeks, Fairchild AFB, WA. This course teaches basic survival techniques for remote areas--using minimal equipment. This includes instruction of principles, procedures, equipment, and techniques, which enable individuals to survive, regardless of climatic conditions or unfriendly environments, and return home.
10.7 U.S. Army Military Free Fall Parachutist School.
5 weeks, Ft. Bragg, NC. and Yuma Proving Grounds, AZ. This course instructs free fall parachuting (HALO) using the high performance ram air canopy. The course provides wind tunnel training, in-air instruction focusing on student stability, aerial maneuvers, air sense, and parachute opening procedures. Each student receives a minimum of 30 free fall jumps including 2 day and 2 night jumps with supplemental oxygen, rucksack, and load bearing equipment. NOTE: CCT and STO attend this course during AST training.
10.8 Pararescue EMT-Paramedic Training (Pararescue only).
22 Weeks, Kirtland AFB, NM. This course teaches how to manage trauma patients prior to evacuation and provide emergency medical treatment. The course consists of two phases. Phase I is 5 weeks of Emergency Medical Technician Basic (EMT-B) training. Phase II consists of 17 weeks of instruction in minor field surgery, pharmacology , combat trauma management, advanced airway management, and military evacuation procedures are taught. Upon graduation, an EMT-Paramedic certification is awarded through the National Registry.
10.9 Pararescue Recovery Specialist Course.
(Pararescue only) 20 weeks, Kirtland AFB, NM. Qualifies airmen as Pararescue recovery specialists for assignment to any Pararescue unit worldwide. Training includes EMT-paramedic certification, field, mountaineering, combat tactics, advanced parachuting, helicopter insertion/extraction, and qualifications. At the completion of this course, each graduate is awarded the maroon beret.
10.10 Combat Control Operator Course.
(Combat Control only) 15.5 weeks, Keesler AFB, MI. This course teaches aircraft recognition and performance, air navigation aids, weather, airport traffic control, flight assistance service, communication procedures, conventional approach control, radar procedures, and air traffic rules. This is the same course that all other air traffic controllers attend. This is the heart of a Combat Controller's job.
10.11 Combat Control School.
(Combat Control only) 14 weeks, Pope AFB, NC. This course provides final CCT qualifications. Training includes land navigation, communications, assault zones, demolitions, small unit tactics, parachute operations, water operations and field tactics. At the completion of this course, each graduate is awarded the scarlet beret.