EP2/6 Surviving the Cut: US Air Force Pararescue

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US Air Force Pararescue

Air Force Pararescuemen are the most highly trained combat search and rescue experts in US Special Operations. When a pilot goes down behind enemy lines, these are the experts who stop at nothing to get him out. Nicknamed “PJ’s” for, “parajumpers,” they are also surgically trained combat medics.

Full training to become a PJ takes more than two years. Early on, students must survive one notoriously difficult milestone called “Extended Training Day” designed to weed out anyone not up to the staggering demands of the PJ job. It’s 24 hours of pure hell: nothing else in any special operations training course rivals the torment of this single day. In the end, only nine men out of 100 survive the cut and are allowed to continue training as a PJ.

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