Thursday, June 20, 2013

Preparing to be a PJ?

So you have decided that you want to be a Pararescue Jumper aka PJ.  What is the best means of preparing to do so?  There are many different avenues one can take when they first start out on this journey.  Of course, if you go to the Air Force website and check it out you will see what you need to do to pass the PAST(Physical Ability Stamina Test) test:  http://www.afsoc.af.mil/specialtactics/pastcriteria.asp  this is a very good start.  If you are able to complete these items in the indicated times you are heading in the right direction.

PAST test must be completed in a 3 hour time frame.  It also must be conducted in the order in which the physical abilities are listed:

    - 2 x 25 underwater swim
    - 500 meter surface swim
    - 1.5 mile run
    - Calisthenics
    - Pull ups
    - Sit ups
    - Push ups
   
Please note that each item is timed and has a minimum amount that is required.  The above site goes into the details on this.

Talk with an AF Recruiter!!!  Your recruiter can be your best friend; if he believes that you have the capability to pursue this career he will do what he can to see you succeed!  Your recruiter can put you in touch with the right people who have been there, and done that.  He/she will be able to work with you in your training, and help you have a better understanding of what this career field entitles.  Your Recruiter is the pathway to getting you there.  If your local Recruiter is not familiar with the field, and he/she should be, ask him/her to recommend another one who can help you.

As I just stated, your Recruiter may be able to put you in contact with someone who is or was a PJ.  This is your best source of information.  If you are able to meet with one, they will talk your ear off (in a good way) about what you need to do to both mentally and physically prepare for INDOC.  When I had asked a dear PJ friend of mine on what he would have done if he didn't make it to graduation, his reply was,

 "that was going to happen.  I had plan "A", to be a PJ - there was no plan "B".  Those who go into INDOC and then into the Pipeline with a plan "B" won't graduate."

Another bit of advice I can give you, if you are still in High School, maybe a sophomore, look into joining the Civil Air Patrol (CAP).  The Civil Air Patrol is an Annexation of the Air Force, one can compare it to ROTC but they work more directly with the Air Force.  Once you have been apart of CAP and you have met certain criteria you are eligible to participate in the National Cadet Special Activities.  One such activity is called the Pararescue Jumper Orientation Course (PJOC)

http://ncsas.com/index.cfm/pararescue_orientation_course?show=career_fair&careerFairID=3

This is a one week course that is held in Albuquerque NM at Kirtland AFB.  The instructors are actual PJs, and the Cadets are trained on survival, rock climbing, land navigation along with many other techniques that are associated with the career field.  They are also physically challenged, having to pass their own PAST test prior to acceptance into the field, and two more times while there.

Study, research, work out, swim, use all your resources that are available to you if this is something that you are interested in doing.  It's the hardest thing you will ever do, but if you do it, and you succeed, you will be one of the elite to be able wear the maroon beret

"That others may live"