News>Giving it their all: Recruits tryout for tough careers
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)
Airman 1st Class Jordan Hayes, 552nd Maintenance Squadron, wills his body through the last stamina test of flutter kicks. Pararescue and combat control hopefuls pushed themselves through back to back timed physical tests June 19 as a visiting recruitment team of instructors and managers evaluated them. (Air Force photo by Margo Wright)
William Martens, right, forces another pull up in the timed stamina test, one of back-to-back stamina tests he and other pararescue and combat control hopefuls took June 19 at Tinker. Mr. Martens isn’t an Airmen yet, but left two years of college behind for the delayed enlistment program and dreams of being a pararescue Airman. “It’s the only thing that’s going to fulfill my life”, he admitted between tests. His recruiter vouched for the man’s passion for the Air Force career, saying he trains six days a week . His efforts paid off this day; he had the highest scores, earning 324 out of 330 possible points. (Air Force photo by Margo Wright)
Daniel Pirrie, left, and Senior Airman Zachary Hesse, 552nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, strain for one more sit-up before time is called. Mr. Pirrie was one of the civilian participants for the pararescue/combat control recruiting test. An inactive reservist, he wants to return, serving as a “PJ”. (Air Force photo by Margo Wright)
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.