Happy 75th Pararescue


Dec 10, 2012
From wikipedia:

The China-Burma-India Theater (CBI) was the birthplace of what would eventually become pararescue. Here was a unique combination of long overland flights through territory that was loosely held by the enemy and survivable. Dominating the flying in the CBI was 'The Hump' route: cargo flights that left India carrying thousands of tons of vital war supplies had to cross the spine of the Himalayas to reach their destinations in China. Every day thousands of flight crews and their passengers risked their lives making this passage in C-46 and C-47 aircraft. Many of these flights never arrived at their destinations due to mechanical problems, weather and mistakes. Crews forced to bail out or crash land faced weeks of hardship in tracing a path back to civilization, enduring harsh weather, little food, and the injuries they sustained during the crashes.

Capt. John L. "Blackie" Porter—a former stunt pilot—is credited with commanding the first organized air rescue unit in the theater. Known as "Blackie's Gang" and flying out of Chabua, India, they were equipped with two C-47 aircraft. One of their first rescue missions was the recovery of twenty people who had bailed out of a stricken C-46 in August 1943 in the Naga area of Burma; an area that contained not just Japanese troops, but tribes of head hunters as well. Among the twenty was CBSreporter Eric Sevareid. The men were located and supplies were dropped to them. The wing flight surgeon, Lt. Col. Don Flickinger, and two combat surgical technicians, Sgt. Richard S. Passey[8] and Cpl. William MacKenzie, parachuted from the search planes to assist and care for the injured. At the same time, a ground team was sent to their location and all twenty walked to safety.

Although parachute rescues were not officially authorized at the time, this is considered by PJs to be the birth of Air Force pararescue. Eric Sevareid said of his rescuers: "Gallant is a precious word: they deserve it".



Dec 29, 2008
The City of Destiny
SOF Mentor
They will enjoy a mashed quinoa cake with an agave-kale reduction topping.
It’s called an aioli, you uncultured swine.

Fun fact- parachute rescues weren’t ‘authorized’ at the time and some of those dudes weren’t even jump qual’d. They just sort of went.

PJs keep that proud tradition- doing illegal shit for the first time then being praised for it after the fact- to this very day.


Verified SOF
May 23, 2011
Anchorage Alaska
Actually parachute rescue team operations in enemy occupied territories weren't "approved" for use in the combat theaters during WWII. Documents indicate the not approved was connected to adding evasion into parachuting in of a ground rescue team was considered too high risk of capture of the rescue team.

The jump done by flight surgeon Flickinger and enlisted medics Sgt. Richard S. Passey and Cpl. William MacKenzie was the first and in being successful caused a change in belief such operations into enemy occupied territory were too high risk with low probability of being successful.

While CBI theater records disclose over 100 parachute rescue team jump operations to rescue downed aircrew were subsequently accomplished after August 1943 up to VJ Day (2 Sept 1945) only names of four or five flight Surgeons or Intel Officers) are disclosed.

Although Flickinger had made a jump or two in a previous assignment (records are unclear due to his WWII OSS and subsequent post WWII CIA affiliations) some controversy connected to this mission is this may have been the first and only parachute jumps accomplished by the enlisted medics.

Army Air Force's Air Rescue Squadrons were routinely using parachute rescue teams in support of Lend Lease ferry of aircraft through Canada and Alaska (1941-1945) and air transport routes.

If the perspective evasion and escape is nothing more than survival with added difficulty of concealing location and overland travel movements, then activities and missions connected to the occupation description "provides assistance in and performs survival, evasion, resistance, and escape (SERE)" becomes a bit better understood. It was mission activities in CBI theater during WWII and subsequently during the Korean War that validated its inclusion in the occupation description.

Historical record in the CIA’s archives provides some interesting information about the establishing a formal evasion and escape survival course at McCall, Idaho during 1952. The only and original source of instructors for the Air Resupply and Communications Service course were provided 2156th ARS (TTU), MacDill AFB, Florida. Although the involvement of Major Fillingham of the British Army gets much mention in the book Apollo's Warriors, page 112, as a Survival Advisor and E&E subject Matter Expert. It is the CIA archives that provides detail of Major Fillingham being the Survival School's Deputy Commander. The commander was Lt. Colonel, MSC, John C. Shumate who had previous MSC assignment on 3rd Air Rescue Squadron pararescue team in Korea. Shumate is credited with exiting a rescue helicopter to carry an immobile pilot while under enemy fire and subsequently administering blood plasma and providing lifesaving emergency medical procedures inflight on the helicopter. The five E&E NCO instructors were all experienced members of Air Rescue Service's land rescue or parachute rescue teams.