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Pararescue, often called parajumper or PJ has been a United States Air Force Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) specialty. The specialty combines medical training at the paramedic level with the mobility and combat skills required for the full range of combat search and rescue missions. Such missions include deployomg in any available manner, to include air-land-sea tactics, into restricted environments to authenticate, extract, treat, stabilize and evacuate injured personnel. [1] After one of the longest qualification programs in the U.S. military, they wear a maroon beret, intended to represent the color of blood in sacrifice. The PJ motto is "So others may live".

Their parent unit had been the 720th Special Tactics Group (STG), is part of AFSOC, which is the air component of United States Special Operations Command. Special operations weather technicians may be attached to the special operations component of any Unified Combatant Command.

On 25 February 2006, General T. Michael Moseley, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, announced his decision to move the USAF's rescue assets from AFSOC back to Air Combat Command (ACC). The skills required of a PJ, however, will not chance, and it is entirely likely that individual PJs still may be assigned to special operations missions.

Memorable actions

34 years after his actions at the Battle of the Ia Drang of the Vietnam War, the father of PJ Airman 1/c William H. Pitsenbarger received, on behalf of his late son, the posthumous Medal of Honor.[2] At the time, he was attached to the 3rd Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Group.


  1. Air Force Special Operations Command, Pararescue
  2. Correll, John T. (February 2001), "Pitsenbarger, Medal of Honor", Air Force Magazine 84 (2)