Good afternoon, I am SMSgt Carpenter. I have been a PJ for 22 years, and the Commandant of PJ Indoc for the last four. I have seen a lot of students come through the course. Some successful... others not so much. There is a lot of good information on this site. I have joined this page to try to reduce any false rumors out there and to provide candidates with a dose of reality on what to expect. So what are the secrets to getting through Indoc? There are none.
However, I do have some thoughts on what worked for me and what worked for some of the graduates that have come through. 1- Mentality 2- Training 3- Timing
1- Mentality: Your mindset coming in will be a key factor. Figure out why you want to be a PJ. Think about it. If it's for money or fame you have picked the wrong job. If it's to help others, that's nice but there has to be more. There are many ways to make a contribution towards helping people that are far less difficult. If that's all you got, then it is too easy to get out of the pool when it gets tough. You should have a reason. Find your motivation. Adjust your mentality. If your mindset is that you are going to "give it a shot", your probability of success is low. When I came through, my mindset was that I'm going to crush this course. I'm not positive exactly what is going to be put in front of me, but it doesn't even matter. I will crush it!! My thought on every task was, "Just get out of the way Sgt and watch this!!" Of course I never said that, but that was my mindset.
"Airman Carpenter, mop this floor!!" My mindset was, "Roger that Sgt, watch this! It'll be mopped better and faster than anyone's ever done it!!"
"Airman Carpenter, 35m Mask & Snorkel Recovery with full BDU's... GO!!!"
My thought: Roger that Sgt, watch this! I'm gonna crush it!!
My point: Go all in and commit. You want to be a PJ? Be a PJ! Burn the freakin boats!!!http://burningboats.com/about-burningboatscom/
Don't train to the minimum standard. Train to the final evaluation standards. Do some research. Run, swim, cals, water con... train. Imagine starting a course when you have already surpassed the final evaluation standards. You have already been able to complete what will be asked of you. Why would you join Pararescue before that? Now imagine struggling everyday with each skill barely passing most events and stressing yourself out over every evaluation each week. Which do you prefer? If you are not running a 7 minute mile for up to 3 miles, you will most likely struggle. If you are not swimming a 9 min 500m freestyle, and running a 9 min 1.5 mile, you will most likely struggle. If you are not in the mid 60's and low 70's for push/sit-ups, you will struggle. If you are not at 12-13 pulls, you should be. Those are not the minimums. They are where I would recommend anyone should be prior to coming in. Another thing... Form. Do them correctly. I don't care how many short stroke push-ups you can do. If you don't go all the way up and all the way down, your count is zero. Talk to your developer. I have students tell me they've been training for 2 years for this and fail the PAST. Then they ask for a washback. If you can't do 70 push ups in two years, what makes you think I can get you there in 2 months? It's not how long you're in the gym, it's what you do while you're in there.
Water Con: this area gets most people. Usually because of their lack of commitment. They haven't burned the boats. I have seen water experience of all kinds pass and fail. The best thing I can say is do some research and spend as much time as you can in the water. Always train with a lifeguard or some supervision. It's about being given a task and completing it. Increase your lung capacity. Learn to tread water by learning the egg-beater. Become a mouth-breather. Practice your skills with a charged mask. Practice with a snorkel and no mask. You are never coming into an event fresh. Commit. Why are you coming to Indoc? You're going to be put in an uncomfortable situation. You're not gonna like it. If you have no reason to be here, you will go away. There are no participation points. You have to engage in training. You have to complete the task the task at hand. I don't say this to scare you. I say this to get your mind right. CRUSH IT!!!
Some guys just aren't ready to commit right now. Some guys want the beret but are not willing to carry the rucksack. Some guys are not physically prepared and have only met the minimum standards. They go away quick. Some guys are not mentally there and are fooling themselves. Others are doing it for the wrong reasons. Some are just trying to impress someone while others are just giving it a shot. There is a difference between optimism and realism. Do some research, figure out if this is for you, train, dominate, and then crush this course.
Commit. Train. Hard.
Good luck to ya.