Search & Rescue
Company: US Navy
Posted on: January 22, 2023
When lives are on the line, Navy Aviation Rescue Swimmers (AIRRs)
are exceptionally adept at answering the call. These brave men and
women embody the courage of America's Navy - readily going into
harm's way to complete their rescue missions in some of the most
extreme environments imaginable. As part of the most elite
helicopter emergency response team in the world, you'll be tasked
with saving the lives of people caught in the waves. Living by the
motto, "So others may live," rescue swimmers put their skills to
the test for others each time they leap into the sea.
What to Expect
Aviation Rescue Swimmer
Naval Aircrewman Helicopter - Sierra
Naval Aircrewman Helicopter - Romeo
Naval Aircrewman: MH-60 Romeo & MH-60 Sierra
We Fly Navy - Diversity in Aviation
Aviation Rescue Swimmers are tasked with entering treacherous
conditions to assist with rescue missions, humanitarian assistance,
and operational support. One day you may be evacuating families on
the other side of the globe amidst a catastrophic storm, and the
next day rescuing the crew of a ship off the Pacific coast or
saving a mountain climber hanging from an inaccessible cliff.
Depending on your role, duties may include:
- Coordinating with pilots as an Aircrewman aboard
- Saving the crew of downed aircraft, people aboard stranded or
capsized vessels at sea, or hikers and mountain climbers in
- Rescuing civilians during natural disasters in collaboration
with other forces such as the Coast Guard
- Delivering aid and supplies to other countries in humanitarian
- Providing support to Naval Special Warfare Operations
- Conducting surveillance in anti-submarine warfare and drug
- Operate radar, Forward Looking Infrared sensors, missile
systems and door guns in anti-surface operations
- Transporting troops and cargo to and from ships
In this role, you will specialize as a Naval Aircrewman Helicopter
(AWS) or a Naval Aircrewman Tactical Helicopter (AWR).
Naval Aircrewman Helicopter (AWS)
AWS's operate various aircraft systems to support a range of
mission types including:
- Surface Warfare
- Search and Rescue
- Combat Search and Rescue
- Naval Special Warfare
- Airborne Mine Countermeasure
Naval Aircrewman Tactical Helicopter (AWR)
AWR's operate various aircraft systems to support a range of
mission types including:
- Recon & Intelligence
- Anti-Surface Ship
- Search and Rescue
- Combat Search and Rescue
- Naval Special Warfare Fire Support
As an AIRR, you will operate in almost every type of extreme
environment and may be assigned to Helicopter Maritime Strike
Squadron (HSM) sea or shore duty in any part of the world. You
could be assigned to squadrons at Naval Air Stations and may deploy
aboard aircraft carriers, surface combat ships and support
Training & Advancement
Aviation Rescue Swimmers must be prepared to operate in any
challenging environment. It's why two years of training in advanced
swimming and lifesaving techniques, helicopter mission equipment
and helicopter weapons systems are required before you report to
your first squadron. Throughout training, candidates are
continually tested mentally and physically as they advance to more
rigorous and challenging scenarios.
Upon completion of initial training at Recruit Training Command
Great Lakes (known as Boot Camp), those pursuing an Aircrewman role
undergo the following training pipeline:
Aircrew Candidate School (4 weeks) in Pensacola, FL, to learn water
and land survival skills and flight safety
Rescue Swimmer School (5 weeks) in Pensacola, FL, to learn search
and rescue techniques
Class "A" Technical School (14 weeks) in Pensacola, FL, to study
basic skills in Naval Aviation
SERE School (2 weeks) in North Island, CA, or Portsmouth, NH, to
train in Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE)
Fleet Replacement Squadrons (28 weeks) for on-site aircraft systems
After graduation, an AIRR may be assigned to a helicopter command
at sea or on shore duty in various locations throughout the U.S.,
including San Diego, CA, Norfolk, VA, Jacksonville, FL, China Lake,
CA, Whidbey Island, WA, Key West, FL, and many others.
Advanced Education & Training
Based on performance and the needs of the Navy, you could
potentially be eligible to receive additional training in:
- EMT training
- Advanced Rescue Swimmer School (includes swift water, high
seas, cave and cliff rescue training)
Senior enlisted AIRRs may also be selected to become:
- Schoolhouse instructors
- Weapons instructors
- Master rappelers/instructors
Specialized training received and work experience gained in the
course of service can lead to valuable credentialing and
occupational opportunities in related fields in the civilian world
whether you're an AWS or AWR .
Members of the Naval Special Warfare community have any number of
unique opportunities to advance their knowledge. Navy training
provides skills and knowledge in everything from military tactics
and small arms use to survival and a number of other tactical
Beyond offering access to professional credentials and
certifications, Navy training in this field can translate to credit
hours toward a bachelor's or associate degree through the American
Council on Education .
You may also continue your education through undergraduate degree
opportunities like the Navy College Program and Tuition Assistance
and the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
Qualifications & Requirements
No college degree is required to become an AIRR, but a high degree
of difficulty comes standard with nearly everything you'll do.
Training is tough and ongoing.
To qualify for Rescue Swimmer Training, both men and women
- Meet specific eyesight requirements: uncorrected vision no
worse than 20/100; correctable to 20/20 in both eyes with normal
depth and color perception
- Meet the minimum Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery
(ASVAB) score: VE+AR+MK+MC=210 or VE+AR+MK+AS=210
- Pass a PST in DEP/Boot Camp
- Pass Class 1 Flight Physical
- Be 30 years of age or younger
- Must be a U.S. citizen and eligible for security clearance
You should be in excellent physical condition and a strong swimmer.
Get the full details on AIRR training .
NOTE: You should consult your physician or other health-care
professional before starting any exercise regime or other fitness
program to determine if it is right for your needs. This is
particularly true if you (or your family) have a history of medical
illnesses or ailments that could be made worse by a change in
physical activity. Do not start a fitness program if your physician
or health-care provider advises against it.
General qualifications may vary depending upon whether you're
currently serving , whether you've served before or whether you've
never served before .
There are no part-time jobs as a Navy Reserve Sailor in this role.
Go back to Careers to find other jobs that have a Reserve
component. You can also find out more about what life is like as a
Reserve Sailor in the Navy.
Have a question or just want to learn more? We're here to help.
Find a Recruiter
Keywords: US Navy, Manchester , Search & Rescue, Other , Manchester, New Hampshire
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