Sunday, May 5, 2013
Most people know about the Special Operations units of the US Army, US Navy and the US Marines. They are easy, Delta Force, Rangers SEALS, etc. Not many people know about the US Air Force's Special Operations Special Tactics Pararescue - PJs. There are two elements of the Pararescue career field, rescue and special tactics.
"Rescue" is the path that the movie 9 Line covers. It depicts what the PJs accomplish on a day to day basis in both the civilian stateside sector and also within the war zone, Afghanistan. The National Geographic Channel "Nat Geo" aired a fabulous mini-series documentary this past winter depicting the "rescue" side, entitled "Inside Combat Rescue". It can be watched on YouTube at: (note: each episode has it's own url):
The other part of Pararescue is the unseen Special Tactics. Shhhhhhhh The Special Tactics side of Pararescue is not spoken of very much, they are the unseen men embedded with the Navy SEALS, Delta Force and the Army Rangers. They provide the medical assistance that these teams require in certain missions that they accomplish. Pararescuemen are the only Medical Personnel that are fully trained in all aspects of the Special Operations field and Combat. They train directly with the SEALS, Delta Force and the Rangers. Practically every high profile mission that has been accomplished, and then fed to the media had a PJ with them. Such missions include the rescue of Jessica Lynch, the 1st individual she saw was a PJ, the mission in Somalia known to the public as "Black Hawk Down" it was a PJ that was the medic working on the wounded (the operation on the leg, who can forget?!), and also, among SEAL Team 6...and when they were shot down, yes we lost a PJ. They are never spoken of, and within the movies they are never displayed and are usually just shown as an Army Medic. They ask for no glory, no fame, they don't boast of what they do. None of that matters to the PJs, they do it "That Others May Live"