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500-meter swim
Staff Sgt. Michael Nicholl, 552nd Maintenance Group, surfaces briefly during a 500-meter swim at the Gerrity Fitness Center June 19, pushing himself during an Air Force pararescue and combat control recruiting stop. More than 20 men took the physical evaluation tests, many with dreams of wearing the elite red or maroon berets. (Air Force photo by Margo Wright)
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Giving it their all: Recruits tryout for tough careers

Posted 6/27/2008   Updated 6/27/2008 Email story   Print story


by Brandice J. Armstrong
Tinker Public Affairs

6/27/2008 - TINKER AIR FORCE BASE -- Two Air Force career fields need a few great men. Tinker may have just what they need. 
   Combat Controller and Pararescue recruiters and instructors, led by Chief Master Sgt. Ralph Humphrey, Combat Control training pipeline manager, assessed and tested the fitness abilities of interested Tinker Airmen June 19. The event took place at three Tinker locales: the base theater, Gerrity pool and the base track. Geared primarily toward the enlisted sector, 17 Airmen and four Air Force recruits took the physical abilities and stamina test, which consisted of swimming, running and calisthenics. 
   "We want somebody that expects a lot out of himself, someone that can self-motivate, has good leadership, and excels at being an Airman first and taking care of the younger guys," said Tech. Sgt. Jared Antoni, superintendent for the Combat Control Selection Course at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.
   The CCT and PJ (nickname for pararescueman) fields have six requirements an Airman must meet before the two-year training circuit begins. Selected Airmen must be a male U.S. citizen, pass the physical and PAST test, pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery General test, and meet eyesight requirements.
   "We don't want an 18-year-old who walks into a recruiter's office and says, 'Oh that's cool,'" Sergeant Antoni said. "We want them to mentally prepare themselves five years out and say, 'I'm going to be a PJ or combat controller.'"
   Airman Colin Bacon, of the 552nd Operations Support Squadron, may be a candidate.
   Airman Bacon attended the base theater briefing but opted not to partake in the fitness test due to work obligations.
   He said he's interested in becoming a CCT and has been interested since before he joined the Air Force in October 2007.
   "I want a hardcore job like this," he said.
   Airman Nate Robinson, of the 31st Combat Communications Squadron, said he's leaning toward the pararescue field. He participated in the fitness test.
   "I want to jump out of airplanes and do something crazy, not just fix radios for the next 20 years," Airman Robinson said.
   Combat controllers, or CCTs, are assigned to the Air Force Special Operations Command's special tactics squadrons. They perform ground tactics and deploy to austere environments "by the most practical ways available."
   Pararescuemen belong to both the AFSOC and Air Combat Command. They perform combat rescue missions, offer medical treatment to personnel in humanitarian and combat situations.

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