This week, the Richmond Ambulance Authority (RAA) began to deliver the field preception (EMS) phase of paramedic training to 19 USAF airmen in a partnership between HCA hospitals and the University of New Mexico (UNM) Paramedic Pararescue School.
The airmen involved in the field preception are all members of the elite USAF pararescue training course, part of the USAF Special Operations Command. The airmen will take part in a lengthy course that will qualify them as pararescuemen, enabling them to ultimately take part in combat rescue missions such as free fall parachuting into a location to rescue and extract downed airmen or other forces in distress.
The initial phase of their paramedic training took place at UNM, with Richmond’s busy EMS environment being selected for the field element, alongside HCA’s Chippenham, Johnston Willis and Henrico Doctors Hospitals, who will provide an ED module.
"We are delighted to be able to take our part in the EMS development of these warriors who are trained to rescue their fellow combatants, in line with their motto so ‘That others may live,’" says RAA’s Chief Clinical Officer Wayne Harbour. "RAA is a recipient of a Military Patriot Award for its support to the military community and it is an honor and pleasure to be able to work with these young men to allow them to sharpen their skills as they work their way toward full qualification as a 'PJ.'"
Pararescuemen provide emergency medical treatment necessary to stabilize and evacuate injured personnel while acting in an enemy evading recovery role. Pararescuemen also act as aircrew gunners and scanners on fixed and rotary wing aircraft while performing flight following duties. In addition, pararescuemen provide contingency landing sites for NASA missions. Pararescuemen are United States Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) and Air Combat Command (ACC) operatives tasked with recovery and medical treatment of personnel in humanitarian and combat environments. Also known as "PJs" (Pararescue Jumpers), these special operations units are also used to support NASA missions and have been used to recover astronauts after water landings. They are attached to other SOF teams from all branches to conduct other operations as appropriate. Of the 22 enlisted Air Force Cross recipients, 12 are pararescuemen. They wear the maroon beret as a symbol of their elite status, and to symbolize the blood shed by past PJs, as well as the blood current PJs are willing to shed to save lives.