That Others May Live
Pararescuemen (PJs) are battlefield airmen. They are the United States Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) and Air Combat Command (ACC) operators tasked with recovery and medical treatment of personnel in humanitarian and combat actions around the globe. Pararescue special operations units have supported NASA missions, and have recovered astronauts after water landings. They are often attached to other Special Operations teams from all branches of the military for battlefield and humanitarian missions. Of the roughly 200 Air Force Cross recipients, only 24 are enlisted rank, of which 12 are Pararescuemen. Pararescuemen are a component of the little-known Air Force Special Operations community, long an enlisted preserve. The Pararescue service expanded to include Combat Rescue Officers (CRO’s), early in the 21st Century.
‘It is my duty as a Pararescueman to save life and to aid the injured. I will be prepared at all times to perform my assigned duties quickly and efficiently, placing these duties before personal desires and comforts. These things We Do, That Others May Live.’
Originally titled “The Code of the Air Rescueman”, it was penned by the first commander of the Air Rescue Service, (then) Lieutenant Colonel Richard T. Kight, and is also used by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC).
The tradition arose during the Vietnam War, at which time the most commonly used USAF helicopter was the CH-3E, nicknamed the Jolly Green Giant due to its enormous size and olive drab exterior. The tradition came about when pilots, navigators, enlisted aircrew, or other military personnel were in need of rescue. Often after these personnel were rescued, they would proceed to receive the temporary ink-stamped “tattoo” of the green feet on their buttocks, due to the fact that the ‘Para-Jumpers’ saved their ass.’