air force pj

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So that others may live.

Two 56th Rescue Squadron HH-60G Pave Hawks respond in a combat search and rescue scenario on Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England. Unlike other rescue squadrons, the 56th RQS is the only unit with a dedicated combat search and rescue force to conduct personnel recovery for a joint force. 

(U.S. Air Force photos by Airman 1st Class Trevor T. McBride, 16 JAN 2015.)

One thing I am proud of my city for is all the amazing people who are doing what they can to help relieve the affects of Hurricane Harvey in any way they can.

There are some radio djs and news reporters who are staying at the stations because they can’t get home but others can’t come into the station either but they are still providing around the clock services. There are reporters in the field who are not only reporting the news as it happened but are taking place in it. They are at the shelters and are helping out there while reporting the stories of those there. They aren’t just documenting those who are rescuing others in their boats but they are also actively helping those rescuers.

There are people who aren’t first responders or military who come in from Mississippi, Tennessee, Louisiana, Arizona, and more places who brought either their big trucks or boats just to help those who are trapped in their houses. There are military members from many different branches including the Air Force Special Forces (PJs and CETEs), National Guard, or Coast Guard who are here but they aren’t as numerous compares to those who traveled from all over the nation to help out. The local police departments and transportation services are providing any information they can to help people evacuate. There are people who are opening up their own shelters at churches and school districts just so people don’t have to travel far for shelter from the weather.

One of the news anchors earlier said something along the lines of “After this is over, we are going to remember Hurricane Harvey as a catostophic event but when we are doing the play by plays, it’s all about the community that united together”

Although, Harvey is a tragedy, we can not forget those who are are doing everything in their power to make these situations less tragic than what they are. Without these people, thousands of people would still be trapped or worse. They are the true heroes.

Pararescuemen, also known as PJs (Pararescue Jumpers), are United States Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) and Air Combat Command (ACC) operatives tasked with recovery and medical treatment of personnel in humanitarian and combat environments. These special operations units are also used to support NASA missions and have been used to recover astronauts after water landings. They are attached to other SOF teams from all branches to conduct other operations as appropriate. Of the 22 enlisted Air Force Cross recipients, 12 are Pararescuemen. They wear the maroon beret as a symbol of their elite status, and to symbolize the blood shed by past PJs, as well as the blood current PJs are willing to shed to save lives.