Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentMilitary · 10 years ago

Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer (AST) or Air Force Pararescuer (PJ)?

which would you choose?

I heard ASTs 90% of the time do not perform rescues.

I heard PJs have a 80% drop out rate on their school.

which would you choose?

other facts would be greatly appreciated.

6 Answers

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Jacob, you need to go and do more research. And the term is CCT, not "CC." If you are serious about joining us in STS, you need to get on the ball and do A LOT more research from verified sources, not just your "buddies" and "recruiters."

    Now on to the question:

    "Pararescuer" is not a term. The terms are Pararescue, Pararescueman (men) or PJ.

    The Pararescue pipeline has a 90% overall attrition rate. Most will wash out during the indoc portion though we still lose guys throughout the pipeline as well. Most that drop later in the pipeline are due to injury or they've proven at some point during the training that they lack the personality / attitude to fit into our community.

    As for which to try out for .. there is a huge difference in CG AST and AF Pararescue.

    If you want to perform sea and waterborne SAR up to 200miles off of the US coastlines, then look into AST. They take a quick crash course for EMT-Basic and will learn basic helo insertion / extraction techniques. To claim they will rarely perform rescues is not correct. A lot depends on location and what's going on. Rescue swimmers will stay busy in rough sea areas and will deploy for assistance to national emergencies such as during Katrina. Beyond 200 miles of the coastline, AF Pararescue handles all sea rescues as our planes have arial refueling capabilities, the Coast Guard does not.

    If you want to perform SAR and CSAR in any environment (water, mountain, desert, jungle, urban etc) then you should look into AF Pararescue. All PJs are trained as EMT-Paramedics, though the training received goes far beyond what civilian EMT-Ps will receive. They are trained in advanced insertion/extraction techniques and can deploy from helo, plane, sub, ship, etc. All are trained in advanced combat tactics and advanced technical rescue. PJs will work in small teams or they can be attached to other Special Operations Forces (SEALs, Special Forces, Rangers, Foreign SOF, etc) Besides combat operations, PJs will support humanitarian SAR missions (Katrina, NYC/DC on 9/11, Haiti, earthquakes in Pakistan, etc.)

    Both are great careers and both require a lot of dedication. You need to ensure you choose wisely because if you don't understand the mission going in, you will most likely not enjoy it .. and with Pararescue, you are doubtful to make it through indoc without the motivation to push yourself through.

    As for Jacob's comments regarding a bonus, if you attempt to try out for Pararescue simply because it has a bonus .. you will fail. I promise you. Money won't push you through when you feel like you're drowning, when your legs are numb and you don't feel like you can take another step. Worrying about the reup bonus is ridiculous given the long road one must take to become a PJ as well as the long road he must continue on just to become a deployable PJ. Indoc and the pipeline are the easiest things a PJ will do during his career. This career requires a lot of dedication and sacrifice. (Jacob, I suggest you pay attention to this as well .. as a wannabe, you shouldn't even THINK about the bonus .. esp. not the reup .. you are a VERY long way from any such idea)

    You need to go over to and read through the site, then join the forums and read the posts under the Pararescue section. Jacob, I suggest you do the same thing because your information is completely incorrect.

    Dive School is no longer at Key West, btw.

    Source(s): USAF PJ
  • 4 years ago

    I would pick the Air Force Para-rescuer. I am not too familiar with the AST but the PJ does alot. Also, yes their training is alot more intense but if you keep your head in the game you will do fine. The AF PJ's also train with other branches, such as Army Special Operations. They will also do Joint Special Operations from time to time. Ever watched the movie black hawk down? Some of the guys were AF PJs(Combat Controllers). Also, think of the pride that you would have of completing something that is more challenging than the other.

  • 10 years ago

    I think there is something wrong with your information.

    PJ's are trained in Rescue swimming , combat diving, helicopter insertion, Military Freefall, and combat in general. PJ's are often attached to Special Operations Teams like SEAL teams and Army Special Forces units. PJ's get a lot more than EMT training. They are all trained in Combat medicine , and most know a little bit about field surgery.

    AST is trained in rescue swimming and helicopter insertion and they are EMT certified.

    PJ training is about two years long, and 75-90% fail.

    AST training is something like 4 to 8 months long.

    Like I said, PJ's are Special operations. Their training is just as hard as Navy SEAL training.

    AST's is tough, but they are just for search and rescue in high sea's.

    Just letting you know the facts.

    Now I would go PJ. But only because they are trained in a lot more...a whole lot more.

    but both are great jobs, hard to get into.

    Source(s): research
  • Troy B
    Lv 4
    10 years ago

    It depends on which environment you prefer. If you want to rescue fishermen in the artic then go AST. If you'd rather rescue pilots out the mountains then go PJ.

    Source(s): prior military
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  • 3 years ago


  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    i would go coast guard because i have always been in love with it.

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