Air Force Combat Rescue Officer (CRO)

Take a quick look at the United States Air Force Combat Rescue Officers, or CROWS, and their command structure, people, training, and missions. Combat Rescue Officers are Air Force officers who are a part of special tactics and assigned to the Air Force Special Operations Command, or FSOC, the Air Force component of the US Special Operations Command or SOCOM. In a gross oversimplification, crows are the officer versions of pararescue men or PJs, but with the added responsibility of planning and leadership. Combat rescue officers are 18 to 39 year old men. They are officers with bachelor’s degrees who have completed Officer Training School, OTS, or the Air Force Academy, or who got a commission through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps, or RO TC. Crow candidates must be able to pass a dive physical and a freefall physical and qualify for a secret clearance. Crow training consists of the following, the Combat Rescue Officer and pararescu e inDOT course at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. After inDOT, crows go to Army Airborne School at Fort Benning, Georgia. Then they go to the Air Force Combat Diver School at the Navy Diving and Solving Training Center at Naval Support Activity, Panama City, Florida.

Then they go to Underwater Egress Training at Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida. Next is Air Force Basic Survivals School at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington. Then they go to the Army Military Freefall Parachuteist School at Fort Bragg, North Carolina and Yuma Proving Grounds, Arizona. Next is Advanced Survival Evasion, Resistance and Escape School at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington. Then they go to the Air Force Combat Rescue Officer entry level course at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico. Next is the introduction to personal recovery at Fort Belvoire, Virginia, and they finish up with a joint aerospace command and control course at Herbert Field, Florida. Combat rescue officer missions include, manage rescue programs and training, direct survival and evasion assistance, command and control, full spectrum, personnel recovery, and of course, lead personal recovery in survival evasion, resistance, and escape operations. I met my first combat rescue officer when I was at dive school. Back then, the Air Force soft guys went to our dive school. This Crow candidate was competent, in great shape, serious, mature. He was all business. A few years later, I had to coordinate an operation with the Crow and some PJs in Afghanistan.

Not only did they help us out, they were able to use their Air Force connections to find us two more aircraft for the mission. It makes a big difference if you are two aircraft and 20 men on the objective, or if you are four aircraft and 40 men. Okay, there you have it. An executive summary of combat rescue officers. Thanks for watching. Don’t forget to subscribe and to forward to a friend who needs to know this. Life is a special operation. Are you ready for it?

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