The mission of the Naval Aviation Rescue Swimmer is to execute search and rescue (SAR) operations from rotary wing aircraft. The Rescue Swimmer shall be physically conditioned to routinely perform demanding rescues in all operational environments. The Rescue Swimmer’s expertise shall provide fleet commanders the ability to assist Department of Defense and civilian personnel in distress.
The rescue swimmer shall be in, and maintain, proper physical condition, be proficient with rescue equipment and have the basic first aid, CPR knowledge and skills necessary to recover and assist personnel during SAR operations. The rescue swimmer must be able to function in physiologically demanding environments at sea or on land during day or night operations.
As an Aviation Rescue Swimmer, you will be part of a highly conditioned group, dedicated to being the top emergency response unit in the world. You’ll routinely put the lives of others before your own. You will be applying your intense physical and mental training to challenging real-world situations where there’s often no margin for error.
You may be called upon to contribute to any of the following efforts: Recovery missions, Rescue missions, Humanitarian assistance, and Operational support. Thinking, acting and succeeding in the definitive task at hand: survival.
It is imperative that you are prepared to enter the most dangerous conditions to provide relief and recovery to those in need. You could find yourself jumping into the ocean from helicopters from hundreds of feet, using your search and rescue swimming skills to ensure safety or using evasion, resistance, and escape techniques to save those in distress.
Some of the many duties you may have as an AIRR include:
- Saving pilots of downed aircraft, people aboard stranded or capsized vessels at sea or even hikers and mountain climbers in danger on land
- Rescuing civilians during natural disasters and collaborating with other forces, such as the Coast Guard ” like the joint rescue missions that saved thousands of lives in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Rita and the tsunami in Indonesia
- Working as a Crew Chief on a H-60 helo, where the primary duties are to make sure the rescue swimmer and the pilot are on the same page and to operate the hoist in rescues
- Delivering aid and supplies to other countries in humanitarian operations
- Providing support to Naval Special Warfare Operations
- Conducting surveillance in anti-submarine warfare and drug interdiction operations
- Transporting troops and cargo to and from ships
No college degree is required to become a Navy AIRR, but a high degree of difficulty and satisfaction come standard with nearly everything you’ll do. Training is tough and ongoing.
Aviation Rescue Swimmers (AIRRs) have one of the most physically demanding jobs in the world. When it comes to saving lives, their strength, speed and endurance decide whether a mission is successful or unsuccessful.
To qualify for Rescue Swimmer Training, you must:
- Males and females are eligible
- 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
You must also complete the Physical Screening Test Requirements:
- Swim 500 yards in 12 minutes
- Run 1.5 miles in 12 minutes or less
- Perform 42 push-ups in 2 minutes
- Perform 50 sit-ups in 2 minutes
- Perform four pull-ups
- Pass a Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL BUD/S physical fitness screening test in Boot Camp and in the Delayed Entry Program (DEP) in order to qualify
Upon successful completion of these entry requirements, a candidate can proceed with the Navy training that can ultimately make them part of the elite Aviation Rescue Swimmer community.