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Tuesday, November 20 2018 @ 03:56 am PST

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And so we wait...

PJ StuffWords fail in the face of such a loss.

Someone perhaps said it best with this prayer posted online:
"Dear Father in Heaven, if I may respectfully say so, you are a strange God. Though You love all mankind, it seems you have special predilections too. You seem to love those men who can stand alone, who face impossible odds, who challenge every bully and every tyrant-those men who know the heat and loneliness of a Calvary. Possibly You cherish men of this stamp because You recognize the mark of Your only Son in them. Since this unique group of men known as the SEALs know Calvary and suffering, teach them now the mystery of the resurrection -- that they are indestructible, that they will live forever because of their deep faith in You. And when they do come to Heaven, may I respectfully warn You, dear Father, they also know how to celebrate. So please be ready for them when they insert under your pearly gates. Bless them, their devoted families and their country on this day. We ask this through the merits of Your Son, Christ Jesus the Lord. Amen. "

My family is safe and thus I'm restraining myself from hunting for the names. Right now, the top priority stateside is to give the families the space they need to absorb this first shock. It's difficult to fathom what it is like for the SEALs to lose so many, and for the other USAF Special Operators who are less in the spotlight.

For those of you who want to do something but don't have anything specific in front of you, I'd recommend donating to the Naval Special Warfare Foundation. They do a lot for the families. And I'll be on the lookout for ways to help the USAF families as well.

My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

Memory Eternal.
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PJ StuffPrayers etc. are requested for a PJ from Nevada who was shot in both legs...
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PJ News

PJ StuffAir Force Reservists Serve As Astronauts' Guardian Angels For One Final Launch
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Must-read article

PJ Stuff

"If you’ve ever wondered why you lack the discipline to attain a certain goal, it is likely because in your heart of hearts, you don’t really value that goal as much as you think you do..."

The Law of Sacrifice

H/T Good Guys Wear Black and DF

I don't think there's much I can add other than to say this gave me something to think about as well.

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PJ StuffOne Man Dead, One in Critical Condition After Pool Tragedy

I know I often talk tough with PJ candidates, but this tragedy reminds me of something even more important than "never quit."

You always need to have someone watching your back. Even in training, you need a battle buddy.

The story breaks my heart because it's so obvious that these guys had the mental toughness required to fulfill their dreams. All they needed was one person who was dedicated to watching out for them. I don't know whether they tried for that or not, but without that person they shouldn't have been doing underwater training.

Please, guys, be smart when you train. You'll take enough risks as a PJ. To get there, though, you need to train safely.

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Losing heart

PJ StuffThis should be in tandem with my "smart women" post, but since there are several distinct issues I decided to write a second post.

This is as good a time as any to note that I, too, have noticed the deterioration of my blog over the last couple years. I started this blog over four years ago with the intent to share the more unique fruits of my brain. Those posts still show up on occasion, but much of the blog has become focused on my individual struggles. Some faithful readers have remained through that transition, but while emotional venting is good, even I am unhappy with the metamorphosis.

Somewhere along the line I became convinced that building my knowledge base and presenting coherent analysis no longer mattered. After all, the world will be quite different by the time I'll get a chance to follow my passion. It would be easy to claim that I've simply lost interest. But while I grant that I've gotten fed up with the dark direction of the international political scene, the truth is that I've lost heart because the goal seems unattainable.

I'll try to do better. I have some plans that you won't hear anything about, but I hope you'll see their fruit in the blog. I don't claim to know everything or execute perfect analysis, but I'll do my best to be coherent and thought-provoking.

Now...how about you? (Personal applications will die hard.)

Have you given up on your dream because you've found something better, or because you've stopped believing it's possible?

Time to dust ourselves off and get ourselves one step closer.
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At Minimum

PJ StuffJust a note for those of you seeking to qualify for pararescue...

I had a good conversation with someone today regarding the PAST. Long story short, don't just meet the minimums. If you can't function at that level on a regular basis, you'll never make it through the pipeline. Those requirements are only the starting place for PJ candidates. You will have to be far tougher to make it through.

Also, mix up the order of the workouts. You never know how they'll mix things up for the PAST. If you can meet or beat all the requirements in any order, then you might be ready.

If you're sleep deprived or hung over and you can meet or beat the requirements in any order, then you might be ready.

There are reasons so many guys get flushed out of the pipeline. If you will be a PJ, you have to make other people's best unacceptable in your own life. No excuses. No indecision. You show up and get it right because you know that people's lives will depend upon you.

If you can't do that, don't waste the instructors' time.

There are several reasons why I'm not active in EMS now, but at the core, I stopped fighting for it because I knew I had weaknesses that could harm others. That's my bottom line. I'm good at many things but I'm more fragile than I want to be. I know my limitations.

When I was going through BLS training, I remember one guy questioning why I chose to keep practicing rather than get in line for the test. I looked at him and said, "because I never want somebody to die because I'm not good enough at this." (For the record, I was one of the few who passed the exam on first attempt.)

There are a lot of reasons guys pursue pararescue. Most of those reasons can get you through the minimums but will fall apart during INDOC. But the physical and mental toughness required will come from the sure knowledge that weakness will get people killed. You have to see their faces in your mind and know whether you can be tough enough to help them.

For the record, here are the minimums:

Must be a male US Citizen with a high school diploma or General Education Development (GED) certificate
Must have a general score on the ASVAB of at least 44
Must be able to pass a Class III Flying Physical with normal color vision and depth perception and meet the hearing and vision requirements
Vision limits: 20/70 one eye & 20/200 other or 20/100 both; correctable 20/20
Must be able to pass the PJ PAST

2x25m Underwater.................Pass/Fail (3 min intervals)..10 Minutes
500 Meter swim......................<10’07”................................30 Minutes
1.5 MILE Run..........................<9’47”..................................10 Minutes
10 Pull-ups..............................1 Minute.................................3 Minutes
54 Sit-ups................................2 Minutes...............................3 Minutes
52 Push-ups............................2 Minutes...............................3 Minutes

Again, if you can't do these backwards and forwards, hung over and starving....Either you have a dangerous weakness or you're not trying hard enough.

Are you a PJ or the guy they rescue?
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In the Shadow of Heroes

PJ StuffToday we remember the fallen of Operation Red Wing KIA 28 June 2005.

If you're on Facebook or reading military blogs, those are probably familiar words. Are they too familiar? It's been six years, and the story of a difficult ethical choice, the ambush, Lt. Murphy's heroic actions, the helicopter crash, Marcus Luttrell's escape and the final rescue have become familiar family lore to the milblogging community.

We remember, but still we sometimes forget that those SEALs, Nightstalkers, Rangers and PJs had only the smallest fraction of the information we have now. Who knew that their death-day had come? Who knew that it had not?

I try to guess what each group had on their minds as they went in. The 4 SEALs? The Mission. The helo full of SEALs and Nightstalkers? Backing up their brothers. The Rangers and PJs? They were following on the heels of what had become a suicide mission, trying to do the impossible. Injuries and homecomings fell to the wayside as they went in under terrible conditions to rescue Luttrell.

You can read the various accounts for yourself and draw your own conclusions. What these men did is extraordinary, but it also reminds me of the importance of the little things. The impact of one action cascades, teaching us, challenging us, linking us to other people in ways we never dreamed possible.

Most of us will never (or at least try not to) make the news. That's ok. We live in the shadow of heroes. But what that means for us is that we remember them when faced with our daily decisions. If they stood next to us, what would they want us to choose? And what would we choose?


SEAL Team:

Michael P. Murphy, 29, Patchogue, NY
Matthew Axelson, 29, Cupertino, CA
Danny Dietz, 26, Littleton, Co.

Personnel on board the Chinook Helicopter killed during the rescue attempt:


Jacques J. Fontan, 36, New Orleans, La
Daniel R. Healy, 36, Exeter, NH
Erik S. Kristensen, 33, San Diego, Ca.
Jeffery A. Lucas, 33, Corbett, Ore.
Michael M. McGreevy, Jr., 30, Portville, NY
Shane E. Patton, 22, Boulder City, Nev.
James E. Suh, 28, Deerfield Beach, Fla.
Jeffrey S. Taylor, 30, Midway, W. Va.

U.S Army Nightstalkers:

Shamus O. Goare, 29, Danville, Oh.
Corey J. Goodnature, 35, Clarks Grove, Mn.
Kip A. Jacoby, 21, Pompano Beach, Fla.
Marcus V. Muralles, 33, Shelbyville, Ind.
James W. Ponder III, 36, Franklin, Tenn.
Stephen C. Reich, 34, Washington Depot, Ct.
Michael Russell, 31, Stafford, Va.
Chris J. Scherkenbach, 40, Jacksonville, Fla.

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PJ Pics

PJ StuffPics are once again behind the "read more..."
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PJ News

PJ StuffDavis-Monthan Remembers Fallen Pararescuemen