Frequently asked questionsI decided to go to this new format so I can simply cut an paste any email questions I get so everyone can see and read them easier.
Prerequisites for entering Pararescue and Combat Control:
- Be a volunteer
- Be a US Citizen
- Be a male (based on current Department of Defense policies)
- Have a general score of at least 43 on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test
- Have vision of best eye 20/70, worst eye 20/100; correctable to 20/20. (No Radial Keratotomy..)
- Have normal color vision
- Meet specific physical fitness standards
- Be a proficient swimmer
- Be a High School graduate or have a GED
- Able to obtain a SECRET security clearance
- Successful completion of the PAST test
- Minimum physical profile (PULHES) of 111111 (no problems)
- Pass an Initial flying class III physical qualification of aircrew, parachute, and maritime diving duty
- Strength aptitude standard (X factor) of "P" for retention of AFSC
- NEW Age Limit information: Just received this from SMSgt Lewry about the age limit:
- CDQC has had an age limit for years (27 I think) but we've been getting around that.
- Retrainee's over 12-13 years in service has usually been the line in the cutoff.
- Exceptions have been made.
- AF cannot bring anyone in over 28 unless member has previous active duty experience which is subtracted from the age to get below the 28.
- We're not stopping people based on age except for TAFMS.
- Physiological training qualification for aircrew duties
- High altitude high opening (HAHO) parachuting qualification
- Qualification for aviation service
- Volunteer for hazardous duty, parachute duty, and diving duty
I recently got out of the navy due to a fractured hip i received during seal training (bud/s). I have a re3p reenlistment code, which means I can re enter the service once healed with a doctors recommendation. I'm very interested in pararescue. Could you offer me any advice? Thank you.
The best advice is to heal first...then see an AF flight surgeon and make sure there is no problems with enlisting for PJ/CCT with those prior injuries.
I am really interested in this career field. My terminal leave date starts 22Jan 99.My ETS is 28 Feb 99. I am going to take the PAST at Lackland at the beginning of January. My POC for this is MSgt Clayton. Are there any items that I can do to smooth the process while I'm still on active duty? This is concrete in my plans for me to exit the Army. If you could please give me any info. on what I can do, it will be much appreciated.
I certainly don't know anything that MSgt Clayton doesn't know...ask the POC the same question.
My name is Thomas McLaughlin.I am interested in Pararescue and I Intend to become one. I would like to know if PJ's are stronger than SEAL's. How often would you get into combat and why in Pararescue.
Some PJ's are stronger than some SEALS and vice-versa...depends. PJ's have been in combat since WWII in one form or another, and have been involved in all conflicts since then...whenever a plane could be shot down, PJ's will be there.
I am interested in cross training into pararescue. I do have a few questions though. What is the number of courses and length of each? I am getting different versions from different websites. What is the average TDY length and what percentage of the year is one gone? Once qualified, would a supervisor go TDY as often as those lower in grade. Is it difficult to become an instructor? What percentage of PJ's from your experience are married? Is there enough stability to take college courses? Any help would be appreciated.
My information is as up to date as I can keep it...I believe it is accurate. I don't think there is an average TDY length...anywhere from 1 day to 90 days. Average TDY rate is about 180-200 days a year...depends though, some guys love it and volunteer for everything...others don't like that many. Yes, supervisors got TDY as often as anyone else. Not too difficult to be an instructor...you need lots of time to get to know your job though...how else can you teach? No idea on percent married...we have quite a few at my unit...You can take college courses...CLEP, etc. but it is pretty difficult with the operations tempo.
I am currently swimming a mile a day, M-F, and running 3-4 times a week,approx. 10-13 miles, a week. Along with push-ups, pull-ups,abs, etc. Is this a good training routine, if not what should I change or add to it. I ship out to basic in April, and am considering trying out for PJ's. Any advice will be greatly appreciated.
That is a pretty good routine, but you should break it up with some Cross-training i.e. weight lifting, an aerobic sport, etc. Not much to change for swimming, but you can do distance one day, and sprints another...work on your breath holding/lung capacity also (with a life-guard present only). I find jump-roping is an excellent exercise.
Hi,Can you please give some ideas as how i should train for pararescue. I currently swim a mile a day, 4-5 times a week, and run 3.5 miles 3-4 times a week. Is this good, or should I add some other things. Any help will be greatly appreciated.Thank you.
See the above answer.
How do I train for the OL-H?
Suggested Student Preparation
The following workouts are designed for two categories of people: Category I are those future PJ students that have never or have not recently been on a routine PT program, and Category II is designed for high school and college athletes that have had a routine PT program. Usually, athletes that require a high level of cardiovascular activity are in Category II. Swimming, running and wrestling are good examples of such sports.WORKOUT FOR CATEGORY I
RUNNING: The majority of the physical activities you will be required to perform during your 10 weeks of training at Indoctrination will involve running. The intense amount of running can lead to over stress injuries of the lower extremities in trainees who arrive not physically prepared to handle the activities. Swimming, bicycling, and lifting weights will prepare you for some of the activities, but ONLY running can prepare your lower extremities for the majority of the activities.
The goal of the Category I student is to work up to 16 miles per week of running. After you have achieved that goal, then and only then should you continue on to the Category II goal of 30 miles per week. Remember, Category I is a nine week buildup program. Follow the workout as best you can and you will be amazed at the progress you will make.
|Running Schedule I|
|Weeks || Exercise|| Amount|
Week # 9:
|2 miles/day, 8:30 pace|
No running. High risk of stress fractures
same as # 7, 8
M/W/F (9 miles/wk)
M/Tu/TH/F (11 miles/wk)
M/Tu/Th/F (16 miles/wk)
|Physical Training Schedule I|
|Week Number || Sets of Repetitions||Week Number || Sets of Repetitions|
|Week #1:||4X15 push ups|
4X20 sit ups
3X3 pull ups
|Weeks #5,6:||6X25 push ups|
6X25 sit ups
2X8 pull ups
|Week #2:||5X20 push ups|
5X20 sit ups
3X3 pull ups
|Weeks #7,8:||6X30 push ups|
6X30 sit ups
2X10 pull ups
|Weeks #3,4:||5X25 push ups|
5X25 sit ups
3X4 pull ups
|Week #9:||6X30 push ups|
6X30 sit ups
3X10 pull ups
*Note: For best results, alternate exercise. Do a set of push ups, then a set of sit-ups, followed by a set of pull -ups, immediately with no rest.
|Swimming Schedule I|
(sidestroke with no fins 4-5 days a week)
|Weeks #1,2:||Swim continuously for 15 min.|
|Weeks #3,4:||Swim continuously for 20 min.|
|Weeks #5,6:||Swim continuously for 25 min.|
|Weeks #7,8:||Swim continuously for 30 min.|
|Weeks #9: ||Swim continuously for 35 min.|
|*Note: If you have no access to a pool, ride a bicycle for twice as long as|
you would swim. If you do have access to a pool, swim everyday available.
Four to five days a week and 200 meters in one session is your initial work up goal.
Also, you want to develop your sidestroke on both the left and right side.
Try to swim 50 meters in one minute or less.
Workout for Category II
- Category II is a more intense workout designed for those who have been involved with a routine PT schedule or those who have completed the requirements for category I. Do not attempt this workout schedule unless you can complete the Week 9 level of Category I workouts.
|Running Schedule II|
|Weeks #1,2:||(3/5/4/5/2) miles||19 miles/week|
|Weeks #3,4:||(4/5/6/4/3) miles||22 miles/week|
|Week #5:||(5/5/6/4/4) miles||24 miles/week|
|Weeks #6:||(5/6/6/6/4) miles||27 miles/week|
|Weeks #7||(6/6/6/6/6) miles||30 miles/week|
*Note: For Weeks #8-9 and beyond, it is not necessary to increase the distance of the runs; work on the speed of your 6 mile runs and try to get them down to 7:30 per mile or lower. If you wish to increase the distance of your runs, do it gradually: no more than one mile per day increase for every Week beyond Week #9.
|Physical Training Schedule II|
|Week Number || Sets of Repetitions||Week Number || Sets of Repetitions|
|Week #1,2:||6X30 push ups|
6x35 sit ups
3X10 pull ups
|Weeks #3,4:||10X20 push ups|
10X25 sit ups
4X10 pull ups
|Week #5:||15X20 push ups|
15X25 sit ups
4X12 pull ups
|Weeks #6:||20X20 push ups|
20X25 sit ups
5X12 pull ups
- These workouts are designed for long-distance muscle endurance. Muscle fatigue will gradually take a longer and longer time to develop doing high Repetitions workouts. For best results, alternate exercises each set, in order to rest that muscle group for a short time. The below listed workouts are provided for varying your workouts once you have met the category I and II standards.
- You can do this with any exercise. The object is to slowly build up to a goal, then build back down to the beginning of the workout. For instance, pull-ups, sit-ups, push ups, and dips can be alternated as in the above workouts, but this time choose a number to be your goal and build up to that number. Each number counts as a set. Work your way up and down the pyramid. For example, say your goal is "5":
|Exercise||# of Repetitions|
|dips:||same as push ups|
|Swimming Workout II|
|Weeks #1,2:||Swim continuously for 35 min.|
|Weeks #3,4:||Swim continuously for 45 min. with fins.|
|Weeks #5:||Swim continuously for 60 min. with fins.|
|Weeks #6:||Swim continuously for 75 min. with fins.|
|Weeks #9: ||Swim continuously for 35 min.|
|*Note: At first, to reduce initial stress|
on your foot muscles when starting with fins,
alternate swimming 1000 meters with fins
and 1000 meters without them.
Your goal should be to swim 50 meters in 45 seconds or less.
- Since Mon/Wed/Fri are devoted to PT, it is wise to devote at least 20 minutes on Tue/Thu/Sat to stretching. You should always stretch for at least 15 minutes before any workout; however, just stretching the previously worked muscles will make you more flexible and less likely to get injured. A good way to start stretching is to start at the top and go to the bottom. Stretch to tightness, not to pain; hold for 10-15 seconds. Do not bounce. Stretch every muscle in your body from the neck to the calves, concentrating on your thighs, hamstrings, chest, back, and shoulders.
Proper nutrition is extremely important now and especially when you arrive at Indoc. You must make sure you receive the necessary nutrients to obtain maximum performance output during exercise and to promote muscle/tissue growth and repair. The proper diet provides all the nutrients for the body's needs and supplies energy for exercise. It also promotes growth and repair of tissue and regulates the body processes. The best source of complex carbohydrates are potatoes, pasta, rice, fruits, vegetables. These types of foods are your best sources of energy.
Carbohydrates, protein, and fat are the three energy nutrients. All three can provide energy, but carbohydrates are the preferred source of energy for physical activity. It takes at least 20 hours after exhaustive exercise to completely restore muscle energy, provided 600 grams of carbohydrates are consumed per day. During successive days of heavy training, like those you will experience at Indoc, energy stores prior to each training session become progressively lower. This is a situation in which a high carbohydrate diet can help maintain your energy.
The majority of carbohydrates should come from complex carbohydrate foods that include bread, crackers, cereal, beans, peas, starchy vegetables, and other whole grain or enriched grain products. Fruits are also loaded with carbohydrates. During training, more than four servings of these food groups should be consumed daily.
Water intake is vital; stay hydrated. You should be consuming up to four quarts of water daily. Drink water before you get thirsty! Substances such as alcohol, caffeine and tobacco increase your body's need for water. Too much of these substances will definitely harm your body and hinder your performance. Supplemental intake of vitamins, as well, has not been proven to be beneficial. If you are eating a well-balanced diet, there is no need to take vitamins.
TRAINING TABLE CONCEPT
Carbohydrates 50-70%% of calories
Protein 10-15% of calories
Fats 20-30% of calories
Should I lift weights?
Yes! Circuit training is probably your best bet...fast paced, high repetition training.
Will I lose fitness at Basic Training?
You will probably lose some fitness, but you can take important steps to keep what you have worked so hard to get. The easiest is to do calisthenics on you off time. A good cal workout will keep you fit. Also, for aerobic fitness, you can jump rope. This I find especially helps me stay in running shape when I can't run.What can I do in Basic to stay in shape?
You can do lots of things...calisthenics and jump roping are the two that come to mind. Cals are good to maintain muscle endurance, and jump-roping is an excellent substitute for running. Both will allow you to maintain pretty good fitness during the 6 weeks of basic.
What about swimming?
Calisthenics such as flutter kicks, pull-ups, and abdominal work are the best to maintain swimming fitness when you can't swim.
What should I eat?
Proper nutrition is extremely important now and especially when you arrive at the OL-H. You must make sure you receive the necessary nutrients to obtain maximum performance output during exercise and to promote muscle/tissue growth and repair.The proper diet provides all the nutrients for the body's needs and supplies energy for exercise. It also promote growth and repair of tissue and regulates the body processes. The best source of energy is carbohydrates. The best source of complex carbohydrates are potatoes, pasta, rice, fruits, and vegetables. These types of foods are your best sources of energy.
Carbohydrates, protein, and fat are the three energy nutrients. All three can provide energy, but carbohydrate is the preferred source of energy for physical activity. It takes at least 20 hours after exhaustive exercise to completely restore muscle energy,provided 600 grams of carbohydrates are consumed per day. During successive days of heavy training, like you will experience at the OL-H, energy stores prior to each training session become progressively lower. This is a situation in which a high carbohydrate diet can help maintain your energy.
The majority of carbohydrates should come from complex carbohydrate foods that include bread, crackers, cereal, beans,peas, starchy vegetables, and other whole grain or enriched grain products. Fruits are also loaded with carbohydrates. During training, more than four servings of these food groups should be consumed daily.
Water is the most important nutrient you can put in your body. You should be consuming up to four quarts of water daily. It is very easy to become dehydrated at the OL-H, so it is extremely important to hydrate yourself. Drink water before you get thirsty!!! Substances such as alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco increase your body's need for water, so, if you are going to drink,do so in moderation! Too much of these substances will definitely harm your body and hinder your performance. Supplemental i of vitamins, as well, has not been proven to be beneficial. If you are eating a well balanced diet, there is no need to take vitamins.
TRAINING TABLE CONCEPT
Carbohydrates - 50-70% of calories
Protein - 10-15% of calories
Fats - 20-30% of calories
You want to reduce cholesterol intake, found in animal fats and even fish. You need at least 3500-4000 calories per day.
When should I eat?
4-5 meals a day are ideal to keep the metabolism up and the muscles continuously fueled. During basic, this may not be possible...just keep in mind the basic dietary guidelines and eat accordingly. You must balance you intake with your workouts in basic so as not to get fat. You won't have that problem at the OL-H!
What do PJ's do on a daily basis?
This, of course, varies from day to day. It can include a normal day of PT in the morning, paperwork during the day, with a normal end of the duty day at about 4:30pm. It may be a show time of 4:00pm for a night, oxygen, HALO jump at the nearest DZ.. It could include a RAMZ buildup, tactics class and practicals, rope and litter work, or you could be packing for the next TDY to Thailand, Indonesia, or Australia. It could include staff meetings, clean-up, duty dog (answering the phones and taking messages), scheduling meetings, etc. etc. Or, you get be on alert and get notification of a mission and have to respond immediately, to who knows what. You get the idea...
What advanced quals do I get?
Our advanced qualifications include HALO and Static-Line Jumpmaster, cast master (jumping out of helicopters into the water...with or without a boat and/or litter), rope master, rappel master, dive supervisor, dive medical technician, RAMZ, CRRC, boat master, SERE instructor, and HAHO qual including team leader and navigator.
What other schools do you go to?
You name it, we could get it (maybe...). Other schools include Ranger, SERE, EMT Tactical, EMT Wilderness, Arctic survival, advanced survival, Rope schools, winter rescue schools, winter warfare schools, etc. It all depends on the unit and, of course, money...
What extra pays do you get?
Extra pay includes dive pay ($150.00 a month), parachute pay (225 a month depending on qual), and special duty pay (110-225 a month depending on time in service). Other pays (depending on numerous things) include flight pay, imminent danger pay, family separation pay, and foreign duty pay.
Where can you be stationed?
We have a few choices including England, Okinawa, Florida, Iceland, North Carolina, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and various locations in the Guard and Reserves. See the Overview page for details.
What is the pipeline like?
The pipeline is the series of training a trainee goes through to complete his PJ training after the OL-H. It includes all the schools listed on the main page. After graduation from the OL-H, the entire team enters the pipeline. This constitutes along TDY for married people and cross-trainees. Most of the schools are back to back, with few breaks in between. You will get national holidays off, and Christmas break as applicable. Those that are married get to bring their dependents to Kirtland and live in on or off base quarters if they choose. Kirtland is the final school in the pipeline. Once you graduate, you are given orders to an operational squadron and go from there. Orders are based on class standing (top dog is given first choice).