PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
Pararescue Airmen from the 308th Rescue Squadron spent several hours with the University of Florida Men’s Swim Team, Sept. 28, giving them a taste of what it takes to become one of the Air Force Reserve’s elite Guardian Angel Airmen.
The Guardian Angel is a human weapons system made up of a three Air Force specialties that serve as the only operators specifically trained as rescue specialists in the DoD. They are the pararescueman, the SERE or survival specialist (Search, Evasion, Resist, Escape) and the Combat Rescue Officer (CRO).
Guardian Angels tested the swimmers endurance and teamwork skills while putting them through various rigorous physical activities to include litter carries, team push-ups, buddy carries, sprints and other drills, while their Air Force instructors shouted motivational commands.
Today’s event marked the second time the men’s swim team trained with the Patrick Pararesue team.
“There was a huge impact on our team the last time we were here,” said Stephen Jungbluth, UF Men’s Swim Team associate head coach. “You could see leaders developing into better and stronger leaders and the men coming together as one.”
Jungbluth went on to say that the PJs (pararescuemen) know team leadership better than anybody on the planet and for his team to have the opportunity to come to the base and learn from them has been invaluable.
Anthony Nesty, UF Men’s Swim Team head coach and former gold medal Olympian, explained that he wanted his team to come back for this training because of its impact on them the first time they trained with the PJs in 2013. After their training day with the PJ’s, the men’s swim team went on to win their first South Eastern Conference title and hasn’t lost since.
Coach Nesty won the gold in the 1988 Olympics in the 100-meter butterfly representing Suriname, which lies on the Atlantic coast of South America. He was the first male athlete from UF to win an Olympic gold medal and Surname’s first-ever Olympic medalist. He earned the bronze in the same race four years later at the Barcelona Olympic Games and many other accolades.
The 308th RQS is part of the 920th Rescue Wing, the only Air Force Reserve Rescue unit, which is comprised of approximately 2,000 Airmen and 3 geographically separated units—Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona; Portland, Ore; Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virgina.