Rescuers show skills at military salute demo
/ Published September 15, 2009
COCOA BEACH, Fla. -- A dozen pararescuemen, or PJs, from the Air Force Reserve's 920th Rescue Wing demonstrated how they get to work to save mariners who are in distress or lost at sea. They parachuted from an HC-130P/N Hercules aircraft into the Atlantic Ocean off Cocoa Beach Sept. 11 just after 6 p.m.
The jumphighlighted a Space Coast Military Salute commencing a week of patriotic observances marked by the remembrances of those who have sacrificed so much for their country.
The ceremonial portion of the event took place on stage at Coconuts on the Beach. It began with a proclamation read by Cocoa Beach Mayor Skip Beeler saluting Space Coast Servicemembers, past and present.
An announcer introduced local military commanders from Patrick Air Force Base, Fla. They included Brig. Gen. Ed Bolton Jr., commander of the 45th Space Wing, and Col. Steve Kirkpatrick, commander of the 920th Rescue Wing and the Port Canaveral Coast Guard Station commander. The Patrick AFB Honor Guard posted the colors. Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Drake, a 920th combat radio operator, sang the National Anthem.
The PJs are among the most trained emergency trauma specialists in the U.S. military. They must maintain an emergency medical technician-paramedic qualification throughout their careers. With this medical and rescue expertise, along with their deployment capabilities, PJs are able to perform life-saving missions in the world's most remote areas.
They are the primary rescue force dedicated to serving as guardians of the astronauts during Space Shuttle launches from Kennedy Space Center.
Event organizers said the demonstration offered an unprecedented look at these Air Force reservists, their resolve and their incredible training and offered a preview of what's to come during their rescue capabilities demonstration at the Cocoa Beach Air Show, Oct. 3-4 at Alan Shepard Park along Highway A1A in Cocoa Beach.