Related Career Path
Special Forces
Other Featured Profiles in the Job Family
Artillery and Missile Officer - Jeffrey Lieb
Infantry - Michael Mead
Armored Assault Vehicle Officer - Lt. Gideon Gravatt
Infantry Officer - Wayne Garvey
Armored Assault Vehicle Crew Member - David Meyers
Combat Mission Support Officer - Steve Sewell
Special Forces Officer - Angelo Johnson
Infantry - Steven Robertson
Artillery and Missile Crew Member - William Alston

Featured Profile for Special Forces
Special Forces -- Thomas Wilson

Lucas Ferrari

After high school, I tried college for a short time but didn’t like it. After working awhile, I finally decided on the military. I talked to family members with previous military service, especially my dad, and they recommended the Air Force. I enlisted when I was 20.

Currently I am an Airman First Class and work as a pararescueman at Kirkland Air Force Base, New Mexico. My primary duties are to recover personnel or vital equipment and to provide emergency medical care. Pararescuemen are involved in both civilian situations (such as helping out in the aftermath of earthquakes or hurricanes) and in military situations for individuals or other friendly forces. Our military operations are varied and can involve rescuing soldiers from a helicopter crash or providing medical attention for an injured soldier.

When I enlisted, I had to pass the strenuous PAST (Physical Ability and Stamina Test) fitness test to confirm that I met the minimum physical requirements. Physical fitness is important because there are a number of specialized training courses required, and most courses take several weeks or months. I had to pass each course and I was required to attend all the training before I could graduate. A lot of men didn’t make it through the entire training. Also, it could take time to move to the next course. For example, I had to wait eight months before I was able to move onto my second training course.

I have traveled to several places for training. I started out at Lackland AFB TX for the first required course, known as Indoctrination. After that, I was in Fort Benning, Georgia for parachuting school, Key West for combat diver school, and Fairchild AFB, Washington for both underwater egress training and survival school. I was also in San Diego for free fall parachutist school and Kirkland AFB, New Mexico for both the paramedic and pararescue courses.

The training that we do is dangerous. Rock climbing, sky diving, scuba diving are activities that some people may view as hobbies, but the military requirements and equipment involved require that pararescuemen understand the dangers of each activity. Every training course that I completed provided me with college credits at the Air Force community college, which will be useful if I ever decide to pursue a degree.

The military has given me a lot of knowledge that I can definitely use after the military. There are civilian jobs I could pursue with my skills including becoming a SWAT officer, a scuba diving search and rescue specialist, or a paramedic.

My work as a pararescueman has enabled me to pursue all of my interests in one job. The motto of pararescuemen is “That Others May Live” and those who choose this career path take that commitment very seriously. This program has given me a lot. It’s forced me to maintain a certain level of physical activity and all of the skills I’ve gained are valuable. I must maintain my proficiency in all the areas for which I was trained. I enjoy the challenge and respect the high standards required.

Click to turn off flash