Fitness Tests of the US Air Force Pararescure

The United States Air Force Pararescue (USAF PJ) holds a revered position as the specialised special forces unit within the Air Force. Commonly referred to as PJs, these elite operatives are entrusted with the critical mission of rescuing military personnel in diverse and challenging environments. Additionally, they serve as medics, providing life-saving care in the most demanding of circumstances.

Motto: "These Things We Do, That Others May Live"

Established in: 1946

PJ Creed: "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."

To qualify for entry into the unit, candidates must be between 17 and 39 years old and be a U.S. Citizen. Both Air Force personnel and civilians can apply, though civilians must first complete Basic Military Training. Additionally, candidates must pass technical training to demonstrate proficiency in essential skills.

Fitness Standards

  1. Underwater Swim:

    • Pass / Fail Event. 25 meters need to be mastered.
  2. 500 Meter Swim:

    • Pass: Not specified
    • Good: 10:07 min
    • Great: 9:30 min
    • Elite: 8:30 min
  3. 1.5 Mile Run:

    • Pass: Not specified
    • Good: 10:10 min
    • Great: 9:30 min
    • Elite: 9:15 min
  4. Pull-ups:

    • Pass: +10 reps
    • Good: +14 reps
    • Great: +17 reps
    • Elite: +20 reps
  5. Sit-Ups:

    • Pass: +54 reps
    • Good: +65 reps
    • Great: +80 reps
    • Elite: +90 reps
  6. Push-ups:

    • Pass: +52 reps
    • Good: +65 reps
    • Great: +80 reps
    • Elite: +90 reps

The Physical Fitness test, called P.A.S.T. has to be accomplished within 3 hours in one day. The test starts with 2 underwater swims in the length of 25 meters. This is followed by a 500-meter swim, which can be accomplished with freestyle, breaststroke, or sidestroke. The only rules to this swim are that the candidates are not allowed to either touch the end of the pool nor touch the bottom of the pool. Swim goggles are allowed. The recruit then has 30 minutes to get ready for the next event. There is a 10 min break after the run around the track. Pullups need to be performed within a minute, without any break, and are followed immediately by 2 min Pushups and 2 min Situps.

Superman School - Selection Phase.

To make it to the training phase, the candidates need to pass an 8-week course. The first 5 weeks consist of daily routines of 4-5 hours of calisthenics, water confidence training, runs, team exercises, and weight training. Water confidence training consists of regular swims, deep-dive exercises, treading water, knot tying underwater, drown proofing, and more. After the first 5 weeks, the candidates enter AirForces' hell night, called extended training day. This means that the candidates will go through 20 hours of continuous training and exercises under muddy conditions.

To graduate from Indoc, Assessment, and Selection, candidates need to bring various characteristics to the course.

1. Positive Attitude
2. Integrity
3. Physical Fitness
4. Mental Toughness
5. Teamwork Abilities
6. Integrity
7. Selflessness
8. Morals
9. Intelligence

Once Hell Night is finished, the pre-dive course starts which lasts 4 weeks. The candidates will still be tested rigorously with even more intense training. Yet, they are now considered a different level of candidates, as they have successfully mastered Hell Night. This phase will be followed by a Combat Dive Course, Airborne School, Free-Fall Course, Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape (SERE) training, Basic and Advanced Medical Emergency Training, and finally, the Pararescue Apprentice Course, where advanced combat skills and strategies are taught. The attrition rate is very high during the whole process. Only about 10% will make it through the course to become PJ's.

Shop now