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This article is structured as follows:

  • Part 01: Background to the US Air Force Combat Rescue Officer
  • Part 02: Entry Standards and Applications
  • Part 03: Outline of the US Air Force Combat Rescue Officer Selection and Training
  • Part 04: Miscellaneous


1.0     Introduction

Logo, AFSOC, Air Force Special Operations Command, US, Special Forces, USAFThis article provides an overview of the recruitment, selection and training process for the US Air Force’s Combat Rescue Officer (CRO).


There have been significant changes in the recruitment and training of special warfare operators, as they are now known, as well as a change in some roles. Detailed information on the changes can be found at:

This is now a legacy page.


Combat Rescue Officers, established in 2000, are one of three officer specialities along with four enlisted specialities that form what are known as Battlefield Airmen (Table 1). In brief, these Battlefield Airmen include:

  • Combat Controllers (CCT): Are specialists who focus on air-to-ground terminal control.
  • Pararescuemen (PJs): These are the guys you see in all the movies (think Black Hawk Down). They deliver battlefield trauma care, as well as personnel recovery and combat search and rescue.
  • Combat Weather Teams: Meteorological interpretation, which can affect how the battlefield is going to change and how commanders conduct operations.
  • Tactical Air Control Party (TACP): Are air-to-ground specialists, but they focus primarily on close air support (CAS).
  • Survival, Evasion, Resistance & Escape (SERE): Perform duties as the name implies. Not strictly a special operations role, but has significant input in training and exercises conducted by special operations.

These Air Commandos form the special operations element of the US Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) Special Operations Forces (SOF) community, which is the air component of the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM).

The role of a US Air Force Combat Rescue Officer is to provide command and control (C2) of full spectrum Personnel Recovery (PR) operations. They work closely with Pararescue and SERE personnel (Active Duty, Reserve and Air National Guard) who form the Guardian Angel weapon system. Their role includes:

  • As direct combatants, leading PR functions and execution tasks.
  • Organising, training and equipping assigned personnel to conduct PR operations in support of combatant commander requirements;
  • Command direct combatants during PR operations; and
  • Providing PR expertise to battle staffs and theatre C2 organisations.

Consequently, CROs are experts in the reporting, locating, supporting, recovery and reintegration of isolated personnel. Further, CROs lead the Department of Defence’s only ground combat force specifically organised, trained, equipped, and postured to conduct full spectrum PR, encompassing both conventional and unconventional combat rescue operations.

From boot camp to first deployment, a Combat Rescue Officer may undertake up to two years of training.

It must be emphasised that a candidate must be physically fit at the beginning of the Combat Rescue Officer training process if they are to stand any chance of success. The course requires far greater expenditure of physical energy than is normally required in other peace time training. It is essential that candidates arrive fully fit, carrying no injuries and with a sound grasp of basic leadership techniques.

1.1     Aim

The aim of this article is to describe the fundamental entry requirements, selection process and training for personnel seeking to become a US Air Force Combat Rescue Officer.

1.2     Women and US Air Force Special Tactics

From January 2016, in accordance with current US Federal Government policy on the employment of women in the US military, service in the US Air Force’s SOF community is open to both male and female volunteers (Pellerin, 2015).

Women in the US military have, for a number of years, been able to serve in a variety of SOF-related roles, including:

  • Intelligence;
  • Military information support;
  • Civil affairs units;
  • Female engagement teams;
  • Cultural support teams; and
  • Air Force special operations aviation roles.

As of March 2015, approximately two-thirds of the roles in USSOCOM were integrated (Vogel, 2015).

1.3     Air Force Special Operations Specialty Codes

There are a number of Air Force Specialty Codes (AFSC) within the USAF special operations community, known as Battlefield Airmen, as outlined in Table 1.

 Table 1: Air Force Specialty Codes for Battlefield Airmen
Officer Roles AFSC Code
Special Tactics Officer (STO) 13CX
Combat Rescue Officer (CRO) 13DX
Special Operations Weather Team – Officer (SOWT-O) 15WXC
Enlisted Roles
Combat Controller (CCT) 1C2XX
Pararescue (PJs) 1T2XX
Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) 1C4XX
Special Operations Weather Team – Enlisted (SOWT-E) 1W0XX
Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) 1T0XX
Source: US Air Force, 2014a; 2014b
  • For officers, there are three levels, with each level represented by the suffix: 1 (Entry); 3 (Qualified); and 4 (Staff).
  • For enlisted personnel there are five levels, with each level represented by the suffix: 11 (Helper); 31 (Apprentice); 51 (Journeyman); 71 (Craftsman); and 91 (Superintendent); replace the 1 with 2 for SOWT-E.
  • For SOWT-O, the C suffix represents special operations trained.


2.0     Introduction

Logo, AFSOC, PararescueInformation regarding the basic requirements for enlistment or commissioning in the US Air Force can be found by clicking on the links, which the reader is advised to read if not already familiar.

The US Air Force does accept direct entry applicants, i.e. civilians with no prior military experience, for the Combat Rescue Officer branch. As a result, volunteers for Combat Rescue Officer may be accepted from US civilians and US military personnel (both officer and enlisted) from any branch of military service to serve with the US Air Force’s Special Operations community.

Consequently, there are four recognised pathways to becoming a US Air Force Combat Rescue Officer:

  1. Enlist as a civilian (on a case-by-case basis);
  2. Enlist as a cadet;
  3. Enlist while in the US Air Force and apply for a transfer; or
  4. Enlist from another Branch of Military Service.

2.1     Special Operations Recruiting Liaison

Recruitment for Combat Rescue Officers is conducted through a number of Special Operations Recruiting Liaison Operating Locations (OL-C to O) throughout the US.

The OL’s fall within the 24th Special Operations Wing.

2.2     General Requirements and Eligibility for All Candidates

Subject to the requirements outlined below, all US Air Force officers are eligible to attend the Combat Rescue Officer training programme.

General Requirements for all candidates:

  • Be a US citizen:
  • Education:
    • Minimum of Batchelor’s degree.
    • For entry into this specialty, undergraduate academic specialisation in a technical discipline with courses in leadership, administration and management is desirable.
  • Qualifications:
    • Knowledge of maps and charts, command and control principles and procedures, survival techniques, field leadership and evasion.
    • Completion of specialty training courses.
    • Meet physical qualification for marine diving, parachutist duty and mission aircrew.
    • Maintain combat-ready status.
    • Maintain physical fitness and water confidence standards.
    • Completion of a current Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI).
    • Completion of Officer Training School.
    • Must be between the ages of 18 and 34.
  • Able to obtain a Top Secret Security clearance.
  • Outstanding resume and no negative personal history.
  • Pass relevant Physical Fitness Test (PAST, BAPFT or ROPFT: view Section 2.6).
  • Medical:
    • USAF Class III Flight Physical (Special Warfare Initial Clearance).
    • Have normal colour vision; and
    • Have vision of 20/70 or better, correctible to 20/20.
  • Candidates are selected from:
    • US Air Force Active Duty officers (up to Captain (OF-2), with maximum 2-years’ time in grade).
    • US Air Force Reserve officers.
    • Air National Guard officers.
    • US Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC)
    • US Air Force Officer Training School (OTS).
    • US Air Force Academy (USAFA).
  • Eligible enlisted personnel can apply for commission as Combat Rescue Officers (CFETP, 2015).

2.3     General Requirements and Eligibility for Air National Guard Candidates

As I understand it, qualifying National Guard candidates must become full-time Active Duty to pursue careers in all Special Tactics career fields (needs verification).

2.4     General Requirements and Eligibility for Reserve Candidates

Qualifying Reservists must become full-time Active Duty to pursue careers in all Special Tactics career fields.

2.5     Candidates from another Branch of Military Service

Candidates from another branch of military service can apply for service as a Combat Rescue Officer.

2.6     Rescue Operator Physical Fitness Test

The Rescue Operator Physical Fitness Test (ROPFT) is the new name for the Physical Ability and Stamina Test (PAST), which it is replacing during 2016.

The ROPFT is utilised as an initial physical screening tool that must be passed in order to start training (and also during training where the standards become more stringent).

The AFSC’s identified in Table 1 undertake ROPFT tests that have slightly different minimum standards based on the requirement of each role, as well as different components.

On some documents the test is known as the Battlefield Airman Physical Fitness Test (BAPFT) and has four tiers: recruitment test; accession test; training test; and operator test (Scott, 2016). A number of the tried and tested components remain, but there are a number of new components. Scott provides a good initial overviewof the (proposed) test. The test from another angle can be seen here.

With this in mind, Table 2 provides an outline of the ROPFT test for the CRO Selection process (completed in the order shown). Each event is graded and a composite score created which must exceed a minimum of 530.

During early 2019, the USAF will be introducing the first “career field-specific physical fitness standards — called Tier 2 standards.” (Losey, 2018). The USAF will establish career field-specific standards for all battlefield jobs (Losey, 2018).

You can view the updated fitness assessments here.

 Table 2: Rescue Operator Physical Fitness Test
Event Component Criteria Time Limit Rest Period
1 Calisthenics
1a Heaves 12 or more 1 minute 2 minutes
1b Sit-ups 75 or more 2 minutes 2 minutes
1c Press-ups 64 or more 2 minutes 2 minutes
2 3 Mile Run Non-stop 22 minutes or less 30 minutes
3 Underwater Swim 1 Remain underwater for 25 metres Pass/fail 3 minutes
4 Underwater Swim 2 Remain underwater for 25 metres Pass/fail 5 minutes
5 Surface Swim 1500 metres non-stop 32 minutes or less N/A


3.0     Combat Rescue Officer Selection and Training Phases

The journey to becoming a Combat Rescue officer is not easy, and training is rigorous and highly selective, but the courage and strength individuals will gain as a candidate will stay with them for their entire life.

The Combat Rescue officer training programme is the selection and training process for all candidates wishing to join the Air Force’s SOF community as a Combat Rescue officer.

All candidates will undertake a number of distinct stages of training (Table 3), in which candidates are taught the fundamentals of Air Force special warfare through formal US Air Force schooling and on-the-job training.

Table 3: Combat Rescue Officer training pipeline
Stage Programme Sub-course/Element Duration
Preparation Enlistment or Commissioning Process (including ROTC or enlisted basic/advanced training) Variable
Officer Training School 9.5 weeks
Assessment CRO Assessment 1 week
Initial Qualification Training (IQT) PJ/CRO Development Course 2 week
PJ/CRO Indoctrination Course 9 weeks
Air Force Combat Dive Course – Open Circuit 6 weeks
Water Survival, Parachuting ?
Basic Airborne Course (scroll down to Section 3.2) 3 weeks
US Army Military Free-fall Parachutist Course or US Navy Military Free-fall Course 5 weeks
USAF Underwater Egress Training (UET) ?17 days
Emergency Parachute Training ?
SERE Training 2.5/3 weeks
CRO Advanced SERE Training ?
CRO Course ?
Mission Qualification Training (MQT) Consists of initial familiarisation and combat mission ready certification, followed by unit directed duty position requirements. Variable
Continuation Training As required training that is necessary to maintain proficiency Variable
Source: Air Force Officer Classification Directory, 2014, p.57-58; CFETP AFSC 13DX, 2015, p.12-13 & 39

The skills and knowledge gained during this programme of training includes:

  • Strategic, operational and tactical PR understanding to effectively report, locate, support, recover and reintegrate isolated personnel.
  • Tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) for rescue and recovery operations, including surface movement, fixed and rotary-wing insertion, SCUBA, and assisted recovery.
  • Personal protection, rough terrain movement, adverse terrain recoveries, and technical rescue.
  • Leading small unit tactics, combat trauma response, and incident site management.
  • Application of PR subject matter expertise to joint and combined operational planning.
  • Application of emergency parachuting, post egress procedures, and life support equipment to the SERE specialty.
  • Land navigation, evasion and assisted evasion, and global environments.
  • Resistance to exploitation, prisoner of war communications, escape from captivity, and conduct after capture.
  • Leading re-integrations.
  • Physiology and psychology of survival.
  • Command and control principles and procedures.
  • Combat search and rescue principles and procedures.
  • Aircrew duties and the basic flight characteristics of aircraft.

3.1     Training Hierarchy

The 342nd Training Squadron, commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel (OF-4), is a unit of the 37th Training Group and is headquartered at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.Logo, AFSOC, 342nd Training Squadron

The Squadron is the home of all US Air Force Battlefield Airman entry-level training for PJs, CCT, SOWT and TACP candidates, and has a number of geographically dispersed units (Table 4) that deliver Battlefield Airman Career field training to candidates.

Table 4: 342nd Training Squadron Subordinate Detachments and Operating Locations
Unit Title Location Purpose
Detachment 1 Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico Pararescue/Combat Rescue Officer School
Detachment 2 Naval System Agency, Panama City Air Force Combat Dive Course
Detachment 3 Hurlburt Field, Florida Tactical Air Control Party/Career Air Liaison Officer School
Operating Location A Camp Bullis, Texas Expeditionary Skill Training (Basic Combat Convoy Course (BC3) and Combat Airman Skills Training (CAST))
Operating Location B Fort Benning, Georgia Basic Airborne Course, Jumpmaster, Ranger School and Pathfinder
Operating Location C Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina Combat Control/Special Tactics Officer, Special Operations Weather School and Air Force Jumpmaster
Operating Location D Yuma Proving Grounds, Arizona US Army Military Free-fall School
Source: US Air Force, 2011

3.2     Preparation Prior to Assessment and Selection

A number of Air Force ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) detachments have special clubs which are geared towards Air Force SOF aspirants. An example is the Red Rope Club, part of AFROTC Detachment 157 located at Daytona Beach, Florida, and hosted at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Embry-Riddle, 2016).

The AFROTC Detachments have training relevant to SOF candidates including physical fitness, water training etc.

There is (or was) a Battlefield Airman Development Course (BADC) which candidates undertook (at Lakeland Air Force Base in Texas) prior to entry in a Battlefield Airmen training pipeline (USA Jobs, 2014), although not sure if the BADC applied (or applies) to Combat Rescue Officers.

3.3     Officer Training School

If not already done so, candidates will undertake the 9.5 week Officer Training School Course which is undertaken at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama.

3.4     CRO Selection Process

The selection process screens an applicant for mental fortitude and physical capabilities, while preparing candidates for future duties as a Combat Rescue Officer. Thus the selection process reduces the training attrition rate by ensuring that candidates selected are equipped to succeed in the specific mental and physical challenges of the training pipeline.

The Combat Rescue Officer selection programme is a two-phase process, as outlined in Table 5, and there are typically two conducted each year.

Table 5: CRO Selection Process
Phase Description
Phase I: Board Review of a Candidate’s Application
  • A panel of officers reviews and stratifies applications submitted by the deadline. Stratification criteria is encompassed in four major categories:
    1. ROPFT (Section 2.6);
    2. Application Review for Attention to Detail (i.e. presentation);
    3. Leadership; and
    4. Academics.
  • The top applicants are invited to attend Phase II Selection.
Phase II: One-week Field Evaluation
  • Phase II consists of a one-week evaluation conducted at Hurlburt Field, Florida, approximately 2/3 months after Phase I.
  • Candidates must attend Phase II in TDY (temporary duty) status.
  • The purpose of Phase II is to assess each candidate for the purpose of determining their aptitude for operating within the SOF environment.
  • Each candidate is assessed against the attributes commonly associated with a Rescue Operator, while stressing them with demanding routines typical of Battlefield Airmen operations:
    • Physical strength and endurance;
    • Critical thinking and problem solving;
    • Leadership and followership;
    • Stress tolerance; and
    • Task performance.
  • Assessments will likely include:
    • CRO Assessment Physical Fitness Test.
    • Endurance (up to 8 miles at set minimum pace).
    • Loaded March (with a set minimum pace).
    • Psychological testing, interviews and peer assessments.
    • Communication skills (e.g. briefing and writing).
    • Problem solving/critical thinking events (both day and night).
    • Leadership ability.
    • Calisthenics.
    • Water confidence, including:
      • Mask and snorkel recovery.
      • Buddy breathing.
      • Treading water (for up to 5 minutes).
  • A candidate’s performance is evaluated as both a team member and as an individual.
  • The cadre will push candidates physically and mentally beyond their comfort zone to assess the above critical attributes in adverse situations.
  • At the end of the week candidates are informed of their status: select or non-select.
  • Being selected at Phase II means the selection board president has approved a candidate’s entry into the career field and pipeline training.
  • Phase II can be attempted a maximum of two times, unless a candidate self-eliminates, in which case no more attempts.

3.5     PJ/CRO Development Course

US Army Special Forces, Green Beret (9)The Pararescue/Combat Rescue Officer Development Course is delivered by the 342nd Training Squadron, located at Lackland Air Force Base Annex in Texas (CFETP, 2015).

The 2-week course trains future Pararescue and Combat Rescue Officers through introductory physical and mental conditioning and development. Training includes mentoring and coaching in:

  • Calisthenics (i.e. bodyweight) training.
  • Running training.
  • Water confidence, swim training and lifesaving techniques which may include:
    • 5x 25 metre underwater swims.
    • 2x 15 metre mask/snorkel recovery.
    • Buddy breathing mild.
    • 2x treading water for 30 seconds.
    • 500 metre swim, with fins.
  • PJ/CRO history, roles and responsibilities/career field duties/missions.
  • Team building skills.
  • Sports nutrition.
  • Exercise physiology.
  • Stress resilience or psychological enhancement training.

The PJ/CRO Development course is a prerequisite to the PJ/CRO Indoctrination course.

3.6     PJ/CRO Indoctrination Course

The Pararescue/Combat Rescue Officer Indoctrination Course is delivered by the 342nd Training Squadron, located at Lackland Air Force Base Annex in Texas (CFETP, 2015).

The course is supervised by the Commandant PJ/CRO Indoctrination course, a Master Sergeant, and trains approximately 600 candidates per year. Overall, the PJ/CRO training pipeline witnesses a 70-80% attrition rate, with most of this attrition on this course (however CROs, on average, have a 90% pass rate from CRO Selection Phase II to graduation).

In 2009, the course was 8-weeks in duration (Slojkowski, 2009), although it has been 9- and 10-weeks in duration since then (Sine, 2013).

The purpose of the course is to recruit, train and select future Pararescue and Combat Rescue Officers. Training includes physical conditioning (such as swimming, running, calisthenics, obstacle course and loaded marches), mental conditioning, exercise physiology, diving theory, metric manipulations, medical and dive terminology, PJ/CRO history and leadership modules.

3.7     Air Force Combat Dive Course – Open Circuit

Diver Mike Hunt getting ready for In-Outs
Diver Mike Hunt getting ready for In-Outs

The Air Force Combat Dive Course – Open Circuit is delivered by the US Naval Diving Salvage Training Centre, part of the US Naval System Agency (NSA), located in Panama City, Florida (CFETP, 2015).

The primary focus of the course, which is 6-weeks in duration, is to develop Pararescue/Combat Rescue Officers and Combat Controller/Special Tactics Officers into competent, capable and safe combat divers/swimmers.

The course provides diver training through classroom instruction, extensive physical training, surface and sub-surface water confidence pool exercises, pool familiarisation dives, day/night tactical open water surface/sub-surface infiltration swims, open/closed circuit diving procedures and underwater search and recovery procedures.

3.8     Water Survival, Parachuting

The Water Survival, Parachuting course is located at the Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida (CFETP, 2015).

3.9     Basic Airborne Course

All candidates must attend the Basic Airborne Course delivered by the US Army at the Airborne School, Fort Benning in Georgia (CFETP, 2015).

During the 3-week course, candidates will learn the basic parachuting skills required to infiltrate an objective area by static line airdrop.

Detailed information on the 3-week Basic Airborne Course can be found here (scroll down to Section 3.2).

3.10     Military Free-fall Course

Candidates may attend one of two courses (CFETP, 2015):

  • US Army Military Free-fall (MFF) course: is delivered over 5-weeks at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and Yuma Proving Grounds, Arizona. This MFF training is an initial skills course that provides academic, ground, and free-fall training to first time jumpers. Training includes: wind tunnel training; in-air instruction focusing on student stability; aerial manoeuvres; air sense; parachute opening procedures; and parachute canopy control.
  • US Navy MFF course: is delivered at Jamul in California.

3.11     USAF Underwater Egress Training

Royal Marines Dunker Drills
Royal Marines Dunker Drills

Underwater Egress Training (UET) is delivered at Fairchild Air Force Base in Washington (CFETP, 2015). I believe the course is delivered over 17-days (needs verification).

SERE specialists train personnel how to safely escape from an aircraft that has landed in the water. Training includes principles, procedures and techniques necessary to escape a sinking aircraft.

The UET systems are a collection of mature technology training devices that provide emergency egress training techniques and procedures to passengers of aircraft, wheeled, and tracked vehicles from submerged water conditions.

Consequently, the purpose of UET is to enhance passenger survivability, regardless of platform or the causal factors that result in a rollover or submersion incident. UET provides this training in a coordinated physical environment in which knowledge based instruction is taught in the classroom which can then be applied and practiced in a safe, supervised and realistic environment.

UET includes a number of training devices:

  • The Modular Amphibious Egress Trainer (MAET) is a simulated generic fuselage section representing specific aircraft, cockpit and cabin emergency escape exits.
  • The Submerged Vehicle Egress Trainer (SVET) is a ground vehicle simulation of the High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) and a generic amphibious track platform.
  • Shallow Water Egress Training (SWET) training, which includes the SWET chair.
  • Familiarisation and operation of the Intermediate Passenger Helicopter Air Breathing Device (IPHABD).

3.12     Emergency Parachute Training

Emergency Parachute Training is delivered at Fairchild Air Force Base in Washington (CFETP, 2015).

3.13     SERE Training

The 2.5-week (3-weeks?) SERE (Survival, Escape, Resistance and Evasion) training course is delivered by the US Air Force Basic Survival School, located at Fairchild Air Force Base in Washington (CFETP, 2015).

The course teaches basic survival techniques for remote areas (using minimal equipment) and training include principles, procedures, equipment and techniques, which enable individuals to survive, regardless of climatic conditions or unfriendly environments and return home.

3.14     CRO Advanced SERE Training

The Combat Rescue Officer Advanced SERE course is delivered at Fairchild Air Force Base in Washington (CFETP, 2015).

3.15     CRO Course

20070718adf8262658_063.JPGThe Combat Rescue Officer Course is delivered by the Pararescue and Combat Rescue Officer School, located at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico.

It is the formal course training portion of Initial Qualification Training (IQT) and is currently under revision (CFETP, 2015).

Training on this course includes:

  • Advanced weapons training;
  • Land navigation;
  • Combat tactics;
  • Mountain and technical rescue;
  • Advanced parachuting; and
  • Advanced helicopter operations.

Training culminates with 2 weeks of realistic mission scenarios so that candidates can consolidate and demonstrate the skills and knowledge they have learned and developed.

3.16     Supplemental Courses

There are a number of supplemental courses that CROs may undertake, which include:

  • Air Force Combat Dive Course – Closed Circuit;
  • Combat Control Static Line Jumpmaster Course;
  • Airborne Jumpmaster Course;
  • US Army MFF Jumpmaster Course;
  • Air Operations Centre Initial Qualification Course – Personnel Recovery;
  • Reintegration Team Chief Certification;
  • Contingency Warfare Planners Course; and/or
  • Joint PR Coordinator’s Course.

3.17     Graduation

Upon graduation, candidates will be awarded the coveted scarlet beret and black jump boots signifying their entry into the Special Tactics brotherhood.

Graduating from the Combat Rescue Officer training pipeline, CROs are assigned to an operational Special Tactics Squadron (STS) in AFSOC.


4.0     Summary

The Combat Rescue Officer branch is open to all male and female officers of the US Air Force. Combat Rescue Officer Training seeks to attract determined, highly-motivated, intelligent, reliable and physically fit individuals to serve with the US Air Force’s SOF community. This article provides the basic information to allow individuals to make an informed judgement before applying for Combat Rescue Officer training.

4.1     TV Documentaries

First aired in August 2010, ‘Surviving the Cut’ was a 12-part, two season series for the Discovery Channel that followed elite and special forces trainees from across the US military during their training programmes.

Season 1, Episode 2 ‘Pararescue’, first aired in August 2010, followed trainees during their indoctrination phase of Pararescue/Combat Rescue Officer training.

Trainees had to survive one notoriously difficult milestone called Extended Training Day nothing else in any special operations training course rivals the torment of this single day. Only 10% survive the cut.

Season 2, Episode 3 ‘Air Force Diver’, first aired in July 2011, followed trainees as they are pushed to the limit as they struggle to learn the art of staying calm in adverse underwater conditions. 1 in 3 will not survive the cut.

A fascinating insight, and eye-opening experience, into the selection and training process for one of the US military’s Special Operations Forces units. You WILL feel the pain after watching the physical and mental challenges these candidates are faced with.

4.2     Useful Books, Documents and Magazines

  • Air Force Policy Directives (AFPD):
    • AFPD 10-30 – Personnel Recovery. Dated 09 February 2012.
    • AFPD 10-35 – Battlefield Airmen.
    • AFPD 16-12 – Pararescue. Dated 01 July 1998.
    • AFPD 16-13 – Survival, Evasion, Resistance & Escape (SERE). Dated 01 March 2000.
  • Air Force Instructions (AFI):
    • AFI 10-3502, Volume 01 – Pararescue & Combat Rescue Officer Training. Dated 16 February 2011.
    • AFI 10-3502, Volume 02 – Pararescue & Combat Rescue Officer Standardisation & Evaluation Programme. Dated 30 April 2012.
    • AFI 11-403 – Aerospace Physiological Training Programme.
    • AFI 13-112, Volume 1 – Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) Training Programme.
    • AFI 13-112, Volume 2, Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) Standardisation/Evaluation Programme.
    • AFI 13-219, Volume 1 – Combat Control & Special Tactics Officer Training. Dated 21 April 2011.
    • AFI 13-219, Volume 2 – Combat Control & Special Tactics Officer Standardisation & Evaluation. Dated 21 April 2011.
    • AFGCM Supplement 16-1202, Volume 2 – Pararescue and Combat Rescue Officer Standardisation and Evaluation.
    • AFI 16-1202 – Pararescue Operations, Techniques & Procedures. Dated 19 November 2009.
    • AFI 31-501 – Personnel Security Programme Management.
    • AFI 36-2210 – Airfield Operations Officer Training Programme.
    • AFI 48-123, Medical Examinations and Standards.
  • Career Field Education and Training Plans (CFETP):
    • Career Field Education & Training Plan for AFSC 13DX, Combat Rescue Officer. Dated 01 February 2015.
    • Career Field Education & Training Plan for AFSC 15WX, Weather Officer. Dated 15 March 2012.
    • Career Field Education & Training Plan for AFSC 1C2X1, Combat Control. Dated 01 September 2014.
    • Career Field Education & Training Plan for AFSC 1T2XX, Pararescue Specialty. Dated 15 May 2008.
    • Career Field Education & Training Plan for AFSC13MX, Airfield Operations Officer. Dated 01 September 2011.
  • Reports and Studies:

4.3     Useful Links

4.4     References

Air Force Times (2015) What It Takes to be a Combat Controller and Special Tactics Officer. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.airforcetimes.com/story/military/careers/air-force/2015/12/14/what-takes-combat-controller-and-special-tactics-officer/77151426/. [Accessed: 02 March, 2016].

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (2016) Air Force ROTC. Available from World Wide Web: https://daytonabeach.erau.edu/rotc/air-force/index.html. [Accessed: 03 March, 2016].

Losey, S. (2018) Air Force rolls out new job-specific PT tests to better prepare airmen for the fight. Available from World Wide Web: https://www.airforcetimes.com/news/your-air-force/2018/01/23/air-force-rolls-out-new-job-specific-pt-tests-to-better-prepare-airmen-for-the-fight/. [Accessed: 22 November, 2018].

Pellerin, C. (2015) SecDef Opens all Military Occupations to Women. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.therecruiterjournal.com/secdef-opens-all-military-occupations-to-women.html. [Accessed: 04 December, 2015].

Scott, A. (2016) Upcoming Report: US Air Force Battlefield Airmen Physical Fitness Test. Available from World Wide Web: http://strongswiftdurable.com/military-athlete-articles/upcoming-report-analysis-proposed-us-air-force-battlefield-airmen-physical-fitness-test/. [Accessed: 03 March, 2016].

Sine, W.F. (2013) Guardian Angel: Life and Death Adventures with Pararescue, the World’s Most Powerful Commando Rescue Force. New York, New York: Open Road Media.

Slojkowski, M. (2009) Improving Fitness Standards and Evaluation Methodologies for Combat Rescue Officers and Pararescuemen. Thesis. Available from World Wide Web: http://handle.dtic.mil/100.2/ADA540090. [Accessed: 03 March, 2016].

US Air Force (2011) 342D Training Squadron. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.37trw.af.mil/library/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=18585. [Accessed: 06 March, 2016].

US Air Force (2014a) Air Force Officer Classification Directory (AFOCD). Randall Air Force Base, Texas: Air Force Personnel Centre.

US Air Force (2014b) Air Force Enlisted Classification Directory (AFECD). Randall Air Force Base, Texas: Air Force Personnel Centre.

USA Jobs (2014) Training Instructor. Available from World Wide Web: https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/PrintPreview/370209800. [Accessed: 03 March, 2016].

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