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Special Operations Spotlight

Air Force Combat Rescue Officer (CRO)

Air Force Combat Rescue Officer

The United States Air Force Combat Rescue Officer (CRO) is an officer career field added because of the importance of joint rescue and recovery operations military-wide.

"By creating this new career field, we recognize how vital the personnel recovery and combat rescue missions have become in our expeditionary aerospace force concept.  The ability to bring people home safely from dangerous missions is paramount.  Establishing a career field devoted to this mission will ensure that attention is always focused on this commitment."  -- Air Force Secretary Whit Peters, 10 Dec 2000

The Air Force recognizes personnel recovery (PR) as one of its primary roles, but through the growing Joint Special Operations Command, trained combat medics such as the Air Force Pararescue are needed within other Special Operations Command (SOCOM) Tier One and Tier Two units.  This new officer career specialty is essential to effectively lead and advocate the CRO/PJ/SERE weapons system to personnel recovery mission success throughout several branches of the SOCOM so "that others may live…to return with honor."

Duties of the Combat Rescue Officer:

  • Deploys as team member, team leader, or mission commander as a direct combatant or provide subject matter expertise to command and battle staffs.
  • Works as a mission planner and manager of personnel recovery operations.
  • Supports joint and combined forces in both conventional and special operations air, ground, and maritime operations.
  • Ensure personnel recovery activities are organized, and teams are trained and equipped to perform full spectrum of Air Force and Joint PR.
  • Inspects and evaluates PR activities, functions, and personnel.
  • Provides advocacy and oversight as well as advice on readiness of the Pararescue and survival, evasion, resistance and escape (SERE) enlisted career fields.

The CRO Physical Ability Stamina Test ( PAST)

Pull-ups: maximum repetitions in 2 minutes / rest 2 minutes
Sit-ups: maximum repetitions in 2 minutes / rest 2 minutes
Push-ups: maximum repetitions in 2 minutes / transition / rest time of 10 minutes before run
Run:  3 mile timed run (no stopping) wearing PT clothes and running shoes.  30 minute transition time to start the swim.
Swim:  25m underwater / 10 minute rest time before 1500m swim
Swim:  1500m using any stroke wearing swimsuit, facemask / goggles, and fins.

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