We’re pleased to announce that Guardian Angel: Life and Death Adventures with Pararescue, the World’s Most Powerful Commando Rescue Force is now available from Casemate!
In Guardian Angel, Senior Master Sergeant William Sine recollects his own experiences as well as the stories of other men who served in U.S Air Force Pararescue.
Pararescue is one of the most demanding and dangerous branches to join. The training to become a Pararescue takes about two years and the average drop out rate for the program is 85%. To graduate from the U.S. Air Force Pararescue, members must complete a conditioning indoctrination course, graduate from basic and advanced parachuting courses, attend Air Force Combat Diver School and Air Force Survival School, become a nationally registered EMT, and then complete the Pararescue Recovery Specialist Course.
Upon completion, members of the U.S. Air Force Pararescue continue their service following this creed:
It is my duty as a Pararescueman to save lives and to aid the injured. I will be prepared at all times to perform my assigned duties quickly and efficiently, placing these duties before personal desires and comforts. These things I do, that others may live.
Pararescue is one of the lesser known branches in the military and William Sine has set out to inform the public about the adventures and experiences associated with the profession. For more information about Guardian Angel continue below to read an excerpt:
A huge military plane speeds through the night. I stand inside with my legs braced wide, weighed down with combat gear. My attention is laser focused on the ramp and door at the tail end of the plane. I am about to lead my pararescue team on a desperate rescue mission, a night parachute jump into enemy territory. My mouth is as dry as the desert thirty five hundred feet below. We wear state-of-the-art military parachutes. Underneath our parachutes, our tactical vests contain thirty pounds of ammunition, hand grenades, and fighting gear. Massive rucksacks snap to the front of our parachute harnesses with quick release connectors and hang almost to the ground making it awkward to walk. Each rucksack contains eighty pounds of equipment including night vision goggles, medical supplies, and satellite radios. We have M-4 assault rifles strapped to our sides, modern versions of the deadly M-16, fitted with powerful grenade launchers and laser sights. All told, we are burdened with nearly one hundred and fifty pounds of parachutes and combat gear.
I am a pararescue team leader flying in an HC-130 Hercules, a large four-engine cargo plane re-engineered for rescue. This unique plane boasts sophisticated radar and communications arrays and uses cutting edge navigation computers. HC-130s can fly through the eyes of hurricanes and refuel rescue helicopters in mid-air. But most importantly, this plane can drop paratroopers. Like my teammates I am saddled with full combat jump equipment, but with adrenaline charging my muscles, I feel like Superman; I’m ready to go.
Slowly, the back of the plane opens like a giant clamshell and cold winter air suddenly rushes around the cavernous interior. The loadmaster gives me a thumbs-up, signaling that in thirty seconds, our pilot will flip a switch turning the red jump lights to green. When the lights turn green, my team is clear to jump from the plane. My two teammates follow as I carefully shuffle to the edge of the open ramp and stand just inches away from a thirty five hundred foot drop. “This is it!” I think. I stare into the night, poised to dive into the cold, empty sky.
We are parachuting to save a soldier who had a leg blown off by an anti-tank landmine. Once we parachute from the plane, my first responsibility is to land my team clear of the deadly minefield. When my parachute opens, I’ll use its steering toggles to avoid the minefield and land on safe ground marked with a strobe light. In a deadly earnest game of follow-the-leader, my teammates will chase me through the air, copying my every turn. I bend over and brace my hands on my knees, temporarily shifting the weight of my jump gear off my spine. Doubts and second-guessing threaten to overwhelm my mind. But I know that moments of greatest turmoil and stress require the greatest calm and professionalism—it’s the pararescue way. I rein in my emotions, clear my mind, and focus on the task at hand.