To become member of the Air Force Special Tactics Team - Pararescueman, Combat Control Technician, or Special Ops Weatherman - you must be male, a proficient swimmer, and meet the physical standards of at least 100 points on the Physical Ability and Stamina Test (PAST). This job is open to officer and enlisted airmen. Here are the specific minimums to becoming a PJ and Combat Control tech:
As of June 1, 2011, the requirements include:
- 2 x 25 meter underwater (Pass/Fail, 3 min between each) with 10 min rest - 500 meter swim (freestyle, breaststroke, sidestroke), max time 10 min 07 sec with 30 min rest - 1.5 mile run, max time 9 min 47 sec with 10 min rest - Pull ups in 1 min, 10 x minimum reps with 3 min rest - Sit ups in 2 min, 54 x minimum reps with 3 min rest - Push ups in 2 min, 52 x minimum reps with 3 min rest
- 2 x 25 meter underwater (Pass/Fail, 3 min between each) with 10 min rest - 500 meter swim (freestyle, breaststroke, sidestroke), max time 11 min 42 sec with 30 min rest - 1.5 mile run, max time 10 min 10 sec with 10 min rest - Pull ups in 1 min, 8 x minimum reps with 3 min rest - Sit ups in 2 min, 48 x minimum reps with 3 min rest - Push ups in 2 min, 48 x minimum reps with 3 min rest
- 2 x 25 meter underwater (Pass/Fail, 3 min between each) with 10 min rest - 500 meter swim (freestyle, breaststroke, sidestroke), max time 14 min with 30 min rest - 1.5 mile run, max time 10 min 10 sec with 10 min rest - Pull ups in 1 min, 8 x minimum reps with 3 min rest - Sit ups in 2 min, 48 x minimum reps with 3 min rest - Push ups in 2 min, 48 x mini mum reps with 3 min rest
NOTE: The PAST requirements are designed to test for a minimum fitness level for entry into the CCT/SOWT/PJ training pipeline. CCT/PJ candidates should continue to train throughout their cross-training application and the recruiting process, to exceed these minimums in order to enhance their chances of success.
2 x 25 Meter Underwater Swim: Provide the member 3-minutes of rest between underwaters. If members surface or break the water surface during any portion of the swim, the test will be stopped and considered a failure. Swimsuits and swim goggles/scuba mask are the only equipment items allowed. After completion of the underwater allow a 10 minute rest before next event.
500 Meter Surface Swim: This swim is conducted using the freestyle, breaststroke or sidestroke. The swim is continuous (non-stop). If a member stops any time during the swim, the test will be stopped and considered a failure for the entire PAST. Swimsuit and goggles/scuba mask are the only equipment items allowed. After completion of the swim, allow a 30-minute rest prior to the next event.
1.5 Mile Run: Physical training (PT) clothes and good running shoes are the only required items. The run must be continuous (non-stop). If a member stops anytime during this run, the test will be stopped and considered a failure. Members will be given a 10-minute break prior to the next event. Test should be conducted on a measured running track.
Calisthenics: Four calisthenics exercises are evaluated, each with specific time parameters and specific exercise form mechanics. All members will exercise to either muscle failure or time completion, whichever occurs first. The intent is to have members do as many "good form" repetitions in the time allotted or when muscle failure is reached. Allow a 3-minute rest between each calisthenics exercise.
NOTE: Exercise form is strictly enforced during the PAST and in the training pipeline. Those repetitions done without proper form will not be counted and be to the members disadvantage.
Pull-ups: Pull-ups are a two-count exercise. Starting position is hanging from a bar, palms facing away from the candidate with no bend in elbows. Hand spread is approximately shoulder width apart. Count one; pull the body up until the Adam's apple clears the top of the bar. Count two; return to starting position. Legs are allowed to bend, but must not be kicked or manipulated to aid upward movement. If the candidate falls off, stops, or releases the bar, the exercise is terminated.
Sit-ups: Sit-ups are a two-count exercise. Starting position is back flat on the surface, fingers interlocked behind the head, head off the surface, and knees bent at approximately a 90-degree angle. Another indivi dual may hold the individual's feet during the exercise. Count one; sit up so that the shoulders are directly above the hip/pelvis area or 90 degrees to surface. Count two; return to the starting position. The exercise is continuous. If the member stops, the exercise is terminated. If the member\'s buttocks rise from the surface or his fingers are not interlocked behind his head during the repetition, the repetition is not counted.
Push-ups: Push-ups are a two-count exercise. Starting position is hands, shoulder width apart, with arms straight and directly below the chest on the surface; the legs are extended, back and legs remain straight. Count one; lower the chest until the elbows are bent at a 90-degree or lower angle. Count two; return to the starting position. The only authorized rest position is the starting position. If the knees touch the ground the exercise is terminated. The member will not raise his buttocks in the air, sag his middle to the surface, or raise any hand or foot from their starting position. If a hand or foot is raised, the exercise is terminated.
Additional PAST event for Air Traffic Control graduates applying for CCT retraining. One three-mile rucksack march while carrying a 50-pound load, wearing issue military boots, in no more than 45 minutes (45:00). Wear a military standard issue ALCE rucksack weighted with an internal 50-pound load. Boots must be military style leather. Do not wear running shoes or other commercial style boots. March will be conducted on a hard surface or track. Terrain should be relatively flat with no extreme elevation changes. This exercise is evaluated as a prerequisite to entering the Combat Control Apprentice course. This event may be conducted on a separate day from the other PAST requirements.
Once in the PJ/CCT Candidate Course, you will be challenged physically for ten weeks in Lackland AFB, Texas. The first phase is known as Team Training and is 8 weeks long. It consists of extensive physical training with swimming, running, weight training, calisthenics and obstacle courses. Educational training such as medical and diving terminology, CPR, weapons qualifications, and dive physics are also part of the Candidate Course. Once a candidate finishes this phase of the training, he will have undergone some of the most challenging water survival training in the U.S. military.
After the Candidate Course there are two different pipelines to follow depending on if you want to be a PJ, CCT, or SOW. Here is the Special Tactics Team pipeline of training:
- US Army Airborne School - 3 weeks - US Army Combat Divers School - 4 weeks - US Navy Underwater Egress Training - 1 day - US Air Force Basic Survival School - 2.5 weeks - US Army Free-fall Parachutist School - 5 weeks
Para-Rescue Pipeline Schools
- Special Operations Combat Medic Course - 22 weeks - Para-rescue Recovery Specialist Course - 20 weeks
CCT Pipeline Schools
- Combat Control Operator Course - 15.5 weeks. - Combat Control School - 12 weeks
Spec Ops Weatherman Pipeline Schools
- Initial Skills Training, Hurlburt Field - six weeks. - Air Force Special Operations Command Advanced Skills Training - six months.
Training is extremely challenging both physically and mentally, but if you graduate and wear the maroon beret (PJ) or the scarlet beret (CCT), you will be one of the most highly trained combat medics in the world, able to handle the most stressful situations with ease. Hats off to those who risk their lives so "That Others May Live."
More Air Force Special Forces Articles:
- Air Force Para Rescue - Helicopter Rescue Swimmer Training - Swimming With Fins - SpecOps: Who's Toughest? - All Air Force Special Forces Articles With any download you buy you get over 40 hours of training personally designed for future students of the group AND access to Stew Smith for any answers to your training questions! If you would like to buy the AF PJ Workout E-book that has worked for several clients of the StewSmith.com PT Club please visit the Military.com eBook Fitness Store. Download the e-book now and ace the Air Force PJ Training.
Many of my favorite PT programs to train for the Air Force Special Tactics teams can be found in the following Military.com links:
Other Air Force Fitness Articles:
Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. If you are interested in starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle - check out the Military.com Fitness eBook store and the Stew Smith article archive at Military.com. To contact Stew with your comments and questions, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.