The Daily has begun an in-depth look into the U.S. Military's most elite special operatives. Beginning with the Air Force’s pararescue special forces, also known as parajumpers or “PJs," this is the first segment of the four-part series:
The PJs are trained in both emergency rescue and medical care. These are the specialists that execute high-risk rescues to recover fallen warriors, treat their injuries, and get them out alive. The USAF Pararescue official website gives this overview of the elite group:
"It's a way of life - like no other. Born out of the mountainous jungles of Burma during WWII, pararescuemen save lives, regardless of personal sacrifice. They put the needs of those in danger higher than their own. PARARESCUEMEN are a close-knit team. We're professionals - dedicated to the mission and proud of our heritage."
Three pararescuemen were among the 31 American casualties in the Taliban insurgent attack upon a U.S. helicopter in Afghanistan last month, the single bloodiest episode thus far for U.S. forces in the Afghanistan war. According to The Daily, PJs are credited with saving at least 1,000 lives in combat zones overseas since 9/11. PJs also perform civilian rescues from natural disasters to downed commercial airplanes. PJs from the Air Force’s 943rd Rescue Group were credited with saving 1,043 lives after Hurricane Katrina.
Pararescueman Mark Bedell describes the team's bond to The Daily:
“'Pararescuemen is a deep brotherhood,' Bedell said. 'We train constantly together. We deploy together ... So we trust each other with our lives.'”
The second episode of the series focuses on the A-10 Thunderbolt II ,one most feared tools in the U.S. military’s arsenal. Below is the view from the A10 Tank Attack Cockpit:
Pararescueman Mark Bedell talks about one of his most intense missions:
Capt. Scott Redmond on what its like to pilot an A-10, "The Hog," and the heart-wrenching experience of losing a colleague in Afghanistan:
Lt. Colonel Jeremy Turner tells The Daily about operation Anacada; which he calls the most dangerous situation he has ever been in: