After high school, I tried college for a
short time but didn’t like it. After working
awhile, I finally decided on the military.
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,
My primary duties are to recover
personnel or vital equipment and to provide
emergency medical care.
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.
military operations are varied and can involve
rescuing soldiers from a helicopter crash or
providing medical attention for an injured
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
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
I have traveled to several places for
I started out at Lackland AFB TX for
the first required course, known as
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
The training that we do is dangerous.
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
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
My work as a pararescueman has enabled me to
pursue all of my interests in one job.
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.
maintain my proficiency in all the areas for
which I was trained.
I enjoy the challenge and
respect the high standards required.