Monday, October 21, 2013

What would happen if...

Do you ever think to yourself, what would happen if.... you got lost while you were out hiking in the mountains?   if.... you became injured while exploring the Grand Canyon?   if...  you took your personal sailboat into the ocean, the weather became bad and you could not make it back to shore or if you were apart of a fishing boat that experienced adverse weather what would become of you?  Here's one...  a hurricane came to shore and took out your home, neighborhood, all that you knew leaving you and your neighbors stranded,  or even worse....  a terrorist attack... who would help find your loved ones that have become missing?

All of these events have, do and will occur again.  Our first answers to these type of questions is always, our first responders; local firemen and policemen.  We also think of the Coast Guard or Air National Guard.

Among the brave men and women of the Coast Guard, Air National Guard (ANG), and Air Force (yes Air Force) is an elite group of men that, in a sense, is the first responder.  These men are the Air Force Pararescuemen, also know as PJs.  They are a special operations force that specializes in Search, Rescue and Recovery, in all adverse conditions.

 The ANG has PJ reserve units across the nation for when a tragedy occurs and their skills are needed.  Working directly with the Coast Guard, they are called upon to help in the search and recovery of boats at sea, and in the Great Lakes, or wherever the Coast Guard is in need of help (the movie "The Perfect Storm" shows the PJs at work).

Over the past year, PJs have been called upon multiple times to assist in the search and rescue of lost and injured hikers in places like Washington, Alaska, and Arizona to name a few.  They have the training to climb in harsh conditions, locate, treat the patient, and recover the individual(s) to safety.

During storms like Katrina and Sandy; PJs recovered a countless amount of people from their rooftops, front porches, and small boats while the water levels were uncontrollable.  They either came in by a HELO and hoisted individuals to safety, or used military boats to recover them and bringing them to safety.

9-11....  Yes, Pararescuemen were apart of the team that helped in the rescue efforts at both the Pentagon and World Trade Center.

These men undergo over 2 years of training...  and continue to maintain their training throughout their careers.  They are among an elite group of Special Operations men and work directly with the Naval SEALS.  They put their own lives on the line with every rescue they undertake - they do this with courage and honor.  They do this... that others may live.