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Old 14 August 2010, 06:04
Tyrail Tyrail is offline
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Pararescue Attrition Rate

Just out of curiousity, what makes Pararescue have such a high dropout rate. I know the training is hella tough but I READ that their attrition rate is 90% while others are mid 50s to high 80s.
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Old 14 August 2010, 07:52
KamoKid KamoKid is offline
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I'm not PJ but I did CCT, so here is my 2 cents on what I saw first hand...

1- Most of the AF types that we got into the initial training from AF boot camp did not have the mindset needed to make it through the type of training the AFSOC is based off of. Most of the ones who made it to the end of my CCT training were prior service in different branches, like myself. I think the AF boot camp did many of these men an injustice because they simply couldn't get to the level they needed to be at quickly enough.

2- The swim training we did was a kick in the nuts even for those who were prepared for it. Those who showed up lacking (about 90% of the class) were doomed it felt like. Swim seems to be an equalizer for most, but not all.

3- Another thing is the fact of how long the AFSOC pipeline took for PJ's and CCT. Most of the guys seemed to start having family problems or medical problems after 12-14 months of hard training, but they still had @ 12 months left to go. A lot started to opt to go to other jobs as they seen the road was too long to hold for them personally.

4- Finally the PJ med training is no joke, as was the ATC school for CCT. Many guys showed up there and couldn't keep up with the info being put out daily due to having to PT and other during the day on top of classroom work. Many start to fall behind quickly in class and fail test, get set back, fail another and get released... Some struggle through and make it but those who didn't have both the physical AND mental ability to stay ahead usually dropped out.


I'm sure others will chime in with their 2 cents as well. Above is simply what I saw through my own experiences...
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Old 14 August 2010, 08:55
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The use of the word "hella" contributed to 100% of the drop outs, as valley girls can't hack it. Back to my swim lane.
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Old 14 August 2010, 14:45
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I think KamoKid hit the reasons pretty well. I can tell you that when I worked at PACAF and actually had to track this rate, it was between 89 to 96 percent for the years I was there (96 - 00). AETC was ALWAYS whining about bringing it down to 50 percent, dropping the scuba requirement, building a pre-pre-indoc course to "better prepare" the candidate, etc.

I don't think they ever got it.
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Old 14 August 2010, 15:38
KamoKid KamoKid is offline
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KJ, that's interesting that the AF even tracks it. That's actually great news IMO. My class started out with 33 CCT and the PJ class at the same time started out with 87. I never grew close to any of the PJ's from that class but several from other classes. Wish I knew how many ended up making it... In my class of 33, 7 graduated and went to team.
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Old 14 August 2010, 15:55
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Also not a J, but I did train a few.

The program as explained to one of my counterparts in the AFSOC training Pipeline stated that the cost in training and outfitting these guys was so resource intensive that they wanted to make sure they were spending money on guys that they were pretty sure would graduate.

As far back as when I went to airborne school as a cadet in 1978, I had PJ's in my class and they were the studly guys the Black hatd couldn't smoke.

Fast forward 10 years to Key West, Florida. Our Joke about the USAF students was the PJ's paid for the course and the CCT guys showed up to outprocess. In 2.5 years as the XO in Key West, I failed only one PJ student and that was because he swam a record time, on target 500m open circuit swim without his buddy. Oops! Despite the begging of his team mates, we could not allow that guy to graduate. I did write his command a letter offering to let him come back. Didn't happen on my watch.
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Old 15 August 2010, 05:47
KamoKid KamoKid is offline
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Our Joke about the USAF students was the PJ's paid for the course and the CCT guys showed up to outprocess.
LOL! Well, not to get off topic here, but there has always been "rivalry" between any of the AFSOC groups, just like anywhere else. 99.99% is just in good fun from what I have seen.

The PJ's I befriended were all STS guys. Some of the greatest guys I ever met too. Complete studs. I never thought much of the rivalry to be honest, each group is unique in its own way. During my pipeline we had 3 PJ Trainees transition over to CCT (I think all three were Med failures if I remember correctly). None of those 3 graduated to become CCT either... In Key West, we (CCT) held the top 3 swim teams, but lost 1 CCT (swim belt test failure) during the course and 3 PJ's (2x major safety violations and 1x disorderly conduct... This 1 was an "O" who eventually retrained into CCT from what I was told).

In my opinion the AFSOC pipeline is one of the best, yes I know I'm partial... Having a 9 year former SEAL go through, 2 prior Rangers, several Force Recon guys, and one SF (these are who I have personally known/talked to) the feedback was pretty overwhelming.

As with any SOF career field, it won't be easy so get your shit wired tight, show up motivated to train, be humble but confident, show respect, stay focused, and never quit! The pipeline can make you a PT stud, but they can't give you the drive from within, the "heart" to continue...
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Old 15 August 2010, 06:06
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its funny you mention the disorderly conduct i believe i know exactly who your talking about hahaha... too funny... love that guy!
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Old 17 August 2010, 08:35
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Originally Posted by The Fat Guy View Post
As far back as when I went to airborne school as a cadet in 1978, I had PJ's in my class and they were the studly guys the Black hatd couldn't smoke.
I went through airborne in March of 78'.

We were paying for the USAFA cadets that re-painted all the watertowers to read "USAF". I remember a female blackhat that we all thought was tougher than some of the men, but always slurred the "Is that clear", to "Is that queer". I want to say her husband was a blackhat also.

BTW, I was first team at Key West. But only the #2. The #1 was my fellow PJ, Doug Doolittle, nephew of Gen. Doolittle of the Tokyo Raid fame. All us PJ's were nearly kicked out for mooning an big Hawaiian instructor named Aquininoc (sp?). He didn't know that we only did that to instructors who we truly respected.
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Old 17 August 2010, 08:56
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Quote:
I want to say her husband was a blackhat also.
Red Hat - he was with the rigger detachment.

Richard
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Old 17 August 2010, 23:22
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My class respected her as the best ground/tower week instructor in the course. They seemed like a good match.
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Old 20 August 2010, 18:06
Grizz6 Grizz6 is offline
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I went to OLJ in 81, and for me asskicker was shin splints, that I ran through in the first month then a torn ankle tendon, that I ran through and then one day the pipes at the pool froze, and it snowed at Lackland, we still had to swim (i think it might have been 2000m with fins) with no heat in the pool and no wetsuits, that was hard. 3 or 4 of us went in the showers to warm up a few minutes and then jumped back in the pool, we got dropped for that. Next day they let the guys wear wetsuit tops.
The toughest part was probably "problem solving" at pool with Instructors Arvidson and the "Dark Shark" Morrison, I think.

Also, I was a PT stud back then but only 18 and probably not prepared mentally, or maybe just not mature enough at the time.
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Old 21 August 2010, 02:03
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KJ View Post
I went through airborne in March of 78'.

We were paying for the USAFA cadets that re-painted all the watertowers to read "USAF". I remember a female blackhat that we all thought was tougher than some of the men, but always slurred the "Is that clear", to "Is that queer". I want to say her husband was a blackhat also.

BTW, I was first team at Key West. But only the #2. The #1 was my fellow PJ, Doug Doolittle, nephew of Gen. Doolittle of the Tokyo Raid fame. All us PJ's were nearly kicked out for mooning an big Hawaiian instructor named Aquininoc (sp?). He didn't know that we only did that to instructors who we truly respected.
Shit, thats when I was there. Weren't they actualy Green hats then due to Sam Wentzel's no one is special anymore rants and raves?

Yea the PJ's always did well in Key West with rare exception. CCT, Hmmm not so much. I had one CCT guy, an E6 fly in from Germany make the water jump and tell the OC NCOIC he wanted to quit. I made him stay until Thursday. Said he never asked to come, he was "ordered to". I didn't think the AF gave orders, just strongly suggested things.
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Old 21 August 2010, 02:05
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I went to OLJ in 81, and for me asskicker was shin splints, that I ran through in the first month then a torn ankle tendon, that I ran through and then one day the pipes at the pool froze, and it snowed at Lackland, we still had to swim (i think it might have been 2000m with fins) with no heat in the pool and no wetsuits, that was hard. 3 or 4 of us went in the showers to warm up a few minutes and then jumped back in the pool, we got dropped for that. Next day they let the guys wear wetsuit tops.
The toughest part was probably "problem solving" at pool with Instructors Arvidson and the "Dark Shark" Morrison, I think.

Also, I was a PT stud back then but only 18 and probably not prepared mentally, or maybe just not mature enough at the time.
Brad Arvidson? Tony Morrison?
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Old 21 August 2010, 03:50
KamoKid KamoKid is offline
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Yea the PJ's always did well in Key West with rare exception. CCT, Hmmm not so much. I had one CCT guy, an E6 fly in from Germany make the water jump and tell the OC NCOIC he wanted to quit. I made him stay until Thursday. Said he never asked to come, he was "ordered to".
Not saying that didn't or couldn't happen but I wouldn't see how... We do water jumps like people take out the trash, on a regular basis. Sure he was actually CCT? Just asking because it seems no one ever confuses an AF PJ, but damn near daily I have people tell me CCT guy did this and CCT guy did that, and when I look into it he wasn't a CCT at all but usually some other AF career fields... I think a lot of it is due to hardly anyone knowing exactly what the CCT does. People always swear up and down to me that a SERE, TACP or Security Forces guy is CCT (usually not knowing that I was a CCT).

I could actually care less if people know the difference in CCT and other career fields or if these guys you speak of were CCT or not. Just simply stating that too often we are mistaken for others, even by other SOF members who should know the difference in us and other AF personnel but they usually do not. Even with my current work I get told by a Army SF or Ranger guy "hey a CCT is working over at XXXX"... Only to find out he's something else...

There will always be those that squeeze through a pipeline as well, no stopping that either... I def have my stories on that from working with about every SOF branch on earth by now and seeing it first hand, CCT is no different unfortunately.
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Old 22 August 2010, 01:26
smcpart smcpart is offline
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Just a few observations from my time in CCT. Prior to 1988 there was no SCUBA/HALO requirement for CCT. Most, if not all, of those sent to SCUBA school, prior to 1988, did not have the nicety of a pre-SCUBA course. I can see where some guys might have been "directed" to go. When I came into CCT, 1987, there was no swim requirement either, like there is now. I went to SCUBA (with the benefit of pre-SCUBA) and HALO after I got to my team. As KamoKid pointed out, "every" SOF unit has their percentage that squeak by and should be in another profession.
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Old 22 August 2010, 02:07
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Was in the Camp Vance chow hall yesterday and an Air Force guy with S/L and HALO wings walks by and he's clearly out-of-shape. Guy sitting next to me says that that guy is CCT, to which I replied "No, he is not....he does not have a SCUBA bubble on his uniform."

Turns out he's the Combat Weather dude attached to the CJSOTF. The CCT/PJ communities are forever getting confused and misidentified. Seeing as there are only roughly 800 total troops in both, there's not a lot of folks around to correct the ones that know everything. Back on thread: The attrition rate has remained high for decades. CCT and their participation in the OL-J/H (combined PJ/CCT selection) years was basically the same as now. There really aren't a lot of guys in the USAF that have the want/need for "action" activities. The PJ pipeline exists to weed out weakness, and they do a GREAT job at it. The USAF recruiting command absolutely sucks at supporting our requests for assistance....
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Old 22 August 2010, 07:46
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I love reading about all these special types in the AF. Being a really old fart, I go back to the Korean War and the AF had almost nobody trained to carry weapons (except the APs of course). I can remember when there was a local riot or some farmers would show up at the gate with a complaint shaking their shovels and rakes at us. We would get on the phone and call the Army. Down the road would come a tank and some infantry and move the farmers away. What a difference!
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Old 22 August 2010, 08:14
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Not saying that didn't or couldn't happen but I wouldn't see how... We do water jumps like people take out the trash, on a regular basis. Sure he was actually CCT? Just asking because it seems no one ever confuses an AF PJ, but damn near daily I have people tell me CCT guy did this and CCT guy did that, and when I look into it he wasn't a CCT at all but usually some other AF career fields... I think a lot of it is due to hardly anyone knowing exactly what the CCT does. People always swear up and down to me that a SERE, TACP or Security Forces guy is CCT (usually not knowing that I was a CCT).

I could actually care less if people know the difference in CCT and other career fields or if these guys you speak of were CCT or not. Just simply stating that too often we are mistaken for others, even by other SOF members who should know the difference in us and other AF personnel but they usually do not. Even with my current work I get told by a Army SF or Ranger guy "hey a CCT is working over at XXXX"... Only to find out he's something else...

There will always be those that squeeze through a pipeline as well, no stopping that either... I def have my stories on that from working with about every SOF branch on earth by now and seeing it first hand, CCT is no different unfortunately.

As it was about 23 years ago, I can testify to nothing, but I am pretty sure he was CCT. I have however, seen the dynamic you described. The no pre-scuba thing explains a lot as well. Not really a formula for success.
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Old 23 August 2010, 11:25
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My math puts about 23 years ago at about the year 1987. A bit on the early side, but within the window of when CCT began making combat diver, military freefall and a few other things core skill requirements. Prior to this such skill and qualifications would be unit dependent.

Many do not realize the transformation of evolving both the CCT career field and units assigned to into STSs. This is disclosed in the book “No Room for Error: The Covert Operations of America's Special Tactics Units from Iran To Afghanistan” written by retired CCT Col. John T. Carney and Benjamin F. Schemmer.

There was a mandate ca. 1987 that all CCT will bet SCUBA/Combat Diver qualified to retain AFSC. It was similar to mandate put out in 1962 for the PJ AFSC and also similar to the madate all PJ will be Military Free Fall qualified in 1984.

This 1984 mandate resulted in the establishing of a accelerated free fall training program that was blessed by the JFKSFWC and School. It was known as the 23rd AF/MTT and it qualified every person holding PJ AFSC during 1985 and 1986 as MFF/HALO.

So as far as being ordered to be there, this has strong legitimacy of being connected to what was happening at the time.

Considering the mentioned percentages, I presume the question is relate to the Air Force Times article AETC aims to lower war-zone job washouts.

Percentages by themselves do not explain the element differences of self eliminating or being eliminated for some failure to pass training standards, and medical causes.

Thus the simplified commonality of the percentages presuming self initiated elimination and in the higher reasons for failure to pass training standards regardless of AFSC is the person has a personality trait (emotional/maturity/mental) impairing their motivation to become what they want to be. The higher rates for PJ/CCT is the diversity of skills/knowledge encountered in training combined with must be mission ready certified to hold AFSC and perform duty of AFSC is considerably more demanding physically, mentally and emotionally.

It costs $250K+ from time entering BMT to completing all required courses and training for award of 3-level AFSC and assignment to first duty (line) unit. Cost and time is about same for CCT but cost is spread to after award of 3-skill level by going through Advanced Skills Courses after getting 3-skill level and before first assignment to as duty (line) unit.

The washout is high because the Air Force wants to invest money on those having the best potential of making it through the training and getting them in the indoc course to the level of fitness needed to get through the required training. SERE and TACP have a different operations environment profile encountered at 3-skill level than PJ and CCT.
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