|While reasonably new to the Federation, Pararescue is far from a new
concept. As early as 1922 there was a recognized need for trained
personnel to go to remote sites to rescue airmen. In that year, Army
Medical Corps doctor Colonel Albert E. Truby predicted that "airplane
ambulances" would be used to take medical personnel to crashes and to
return victims to medical facilities for treatment. However, it was
another two decades before technology and need helped to create what
would eventually become Air Force Pararescue.
Even so, there were
developments in critical technologies. In 1940, two U.S. Forestry
Service Smokejumpers, Earl Cooley and Rufus Robinson, showed that
parachutists could be placed very accurately onto the ground using the
newly-invented 'steerable parachute.' These parachutes and the
techniques smokejumpers used with them were completely different from
the techniques used by Army airborne units. It was in that year that Dr.
(Captain) Leo P. Martin was trained by the U.S. Forestry Service
Parachute Training Center in Seeley Lake, Montana as the first 'para-doctor'.
Recognizing the need for a unified organization to perform search and
rescue, the Army Air Force formed the Air Rescue Service (ARS).
Officially established on May 29, 1946; the ARS was charged with saving
the lives of aircrews who were involved in aircraft disasters,
accidents, crash landings, ditchings or abandonments occurring away from
an air base, and with being world-deployable to support far-flung air
A mission earlier in 1947 was the final impetus for the
formal creation of Air Force Pararescue. In May, Dr.
(Capt.) Pope B. 'Doc' Holliday parachuted out of an
OA-10 Catalina into the Nicaraguan jungle to aid a
crewmember who had parachuted from a crippled B-17
Flying Fortress. His actions earned him the Bronze Star
and made him another of pararescue's early legends.
Shortly after Pararescue teams were authorized, the 5th
Rescue Squadron conducted the first Pararescue and
Survival School at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida.
The core of instructors were experienced officers and
enlisted men who were recruited from all branches of
service. The commandant of that first school was pilot
Lt. Perry C. Emmons, who had been assigned to the Office
of Strategic Services (OSS) during World War II. At the
close of the war, Emmons and six sergeants flew
prisoners of war out of Thailand, earning his group the
nickname "Perry and the Pirates", after the popular
comic strip Terry and the Pirates. After the war,
Emmons completed Airborne School at Fort Benning,
Georgia, becoming only the second jump-qualified Air
As Pararescue grew, PJ teams were assigned to every Air
Rescue Service squadron to provide global coverage. By
1950, the unification of all the formerly independent
Air Rescue Squadrons under the umbrella of the Air
Rescue Service was complete.
In 1950, North Korea
attacked across the 38th parallel and began the Korean
War. This was an opportunity for Air Rescue to put
training into practice and to develop theories into
policies. One of the key new concepts was rescue of
stranded personnel from behind enemy lines. This, along
with evacuating critically wounded men from aid stations
close to the front, were Air Rescue's primary missions.
Pararescuemen were a normal part of Air Rescue crews
for these missions. Their medical and tactical skills
made them invaluable for evacuation and rescue missions
of this type.
Pararescuemen were often called upon to leave the
helicopters that carried them in order to assist the
personnel they were sent to rescue. This might call for
an extended stay behind enemy lines and overland travel
of several miles. The longest of these 'Lone Wolf'
missions lasted seventy-two hours.
By the end of the Korean Conflict in 1953, Air Rescue
had evacuated over eight thousand critical casualties
and rescued nearly a thousand men from behind enemy
The Earth continued to use Pararescue till 2063, when first contact
brought most conflict on Earth to a close, and the use of a highly
trained specialized rescue unit was considered no longer needed.
In 2368, with the Increase of hostilities around the Federation, the
realization that a specialized Search and Rescue team was needed.
Pararescue was reborn. After 3 years of training, Capt Jonathan Harmon
was promoted to Major, and Commissioned the first Federation Combat
Rescue Officer, and assigned to train the first platoon of PJ's.
Training was set up, and the first candidates were selected from the
best of the Federation Marine Corps. Major Harmon over saw the training
of 600 Marines, trying to become PJ's, by the time training was
completed, only 40 remained, and upon Graduation, the first Pararescue
Platoon was sent into service.