Aircrew Survival Equipmentman
|Aircrew Survival Equipmentman|
Parachute Rigger Badge
|Issued by: United States Navy|
Survival Equpmentman (Aircrew) PR
In the fleet, Aircrew Survival Equipmentmen, better known as Parachute Riggers, perform a wide range of duties, which include inspecting, maintaining, and repairing parachutes, search and rescue equipment, along with survival kits, medical kits, flight clothing, protective wear, night vision equipment, aircrew oxygen systems, liquid oxygen converters, anti-exposure suits, and anti-gravity suits. PRs operate and maintain carbon dioxide transfer and recharge equipment, operate and repair sewing machines as well as train aircrew and other personnel in parachute rigging and the use of safety and survival equipment.
The PR's primary mission is the business of saving lives, a mission equally important in peace and in war. One generally thinks of aviators as trusting their lives to the aircraft they are flying. However, if for some reason the aircraft becomes disabled, the aviator's probability of survival would be small except for the equipment that the PR provides for such an emergency. With this equipment, the aviator and crew are able to abandon their disabled aircraft, parachute to safety and survive on land, at sea, or even in the arctic wastelands.
With the requirement for all Navy aviators to wear parachutes, the necessity for trained personnel to pack and maintain these parachutes became apparent. In June 1922, the Bureau of Aeronautics requested volunteers from among the petty officers attached to the various Naval Air Stations to take a course of instruction in parachutes at the Army School at [[Chanute Field]], Rantoul, Illinois. Thirteen chief petty officers were selected from throughout the Navy. They completed the course of instruction and returned to their duty stations. Three of them were selected for further training at McCook Field, Dayton, Ohio, at that time the Army Equipment Experimental Depot. The three chief petty officers received advanced training in parachutes. In August 1923, Chief Alva Starr and Chief Lyman Ford, two of the three, were ordered to Lakehurst, New Jersey, to set up a training course on parachutes. Although the course was established, the PR Rate was not established until 1942. In September 1924, Class No. 1 was convened at the Parachute Material School at Lakehurst to teach parachute rigging.
The PR rating was established in 1942 to help meet World War II parachute survival requirements. The original title of the rating was Parachute Rigger. The rating title was changed to its present Aircrew Survival Equipmentman in December, 1965. The reason for changing the title from Parachute Rigger to Aircrew Survival Equipmentman was to provide a more realistic description of the types of duties performed by PRs. When founded in 1942, the PR rating consisted only of the general service rating with career progression from striker status through PRC.
Following a fatal training accident in the 1980s, students are no longer required to complete the basic parachute jump to earn their rating badge.
United States Navy parachute riggers are now trained at Naval Air Station Pensacola during a 12-week (55 training days) school (the initial school, or "A school", for the rating). The school includes 9 courses: 3 courses of "common core" skills over 19 days, 3 courses of organizational-level (O-level) skills for 17 days, and 3 courses of intermediate-level (I-level) skills for 19 days.
Throughout the course of instruction, students undergo physical training at least three times a week, are subjected to rigorous inspections every Monday, and march between buildings. Students must maintain a grade average of 80 to remain in the course, making it one of the most challenging courses at the Naval Aviation Technical Training Center.
Organizational Level Course
O-Level begins with instruction in sewing. Students are then taught to manufacture a complete rigger bag from scratch and learn the importance and policies of tool control. The next course is NB-8 parachutes, in which students learn the basics of parachute rigging, inspection cycles, and nomenclature. This is followed by a course about general survival equipment named ESE. The organizational series of courses follows, beginning with Survival I Fixed Wing followed by Survival II Rotary Wing, in which students learn inspection and maintenance concepts unique to squadron-level work. The final O-level subject is Survival Radios.
While the rating is closed to non graduates, O-Level certification may be attained by flight crew personnel who maintain and repair equipment at sea in the absence of a parachute rigger.
Intermediate Level Course
I-level series of courses starts with NES-12, the Navy's most complicated parachute system, for advanced rigging concepts. Seat Survival Kits and Life Preservers complete the course of instruction. One class graduates from the PR A school every seven training days.
In addition to "A" School, "C" and "F" schools offer specialty training in oxygen systems and sewing machine repair. These schools require the student to enlist for a period of 6 years and are often a prerequisite for senior level positions in a paraloft.
The American Council on Education recommends that 2 semester hour credits be awarded in the vocational certificate category in sewing machine operation, service, and maintenance, and 2 in parachute packing and inspection; additionally, 3 semester hours in lower-division bachelor's/associate's degree category in aviation safety equipment repair/maintenance. Credits may also be earned for other follow-on training ("C" schools) throughout your career.
Senior and Master Rigger Licensing
For military personnel, the Federal Aviation Administration(FAA) will grant a Senior Parachute Rigger licenses and ratings to parachute riggers with the completion of a written exam and a letter of recommendation from their commanding officer . Along with the requirements for Senior Rigger, Master Parachute Rigger licensing may be attained after the service members presents evidence to the FAA that he has had at least 3 years of experience as a parachute rigger, and has satisfactorily packed at least 100 parachutes of each of two types in common use. Specific guidelines for this process are detailed in FAA Regulations Sub Part F 65.117.
Rating Badges and Parachutist Insignia
The Rating Badge for enlisted personnel (also pictured in the infobox) may only be worn by service members who have completed Parachute Rigger "A" school.
The Navy and Marine Corps issue parachutist insignia in two degrees: the U.S. Military Basic Parachutist Badge, also called the Basic Parachustist Insignia (pictured below, as awarded to all DoD military services), and the Navy and Marine Corps Parachutist Insignia (pictured below). Parachutist insignia is available to personnel who perform jumps as a:
Static-Line Parachute Jumper,
Military Free-Fall Parachute Jumper, and
High Altitude Low Opening (HALO) Parachute Jumper (used for premeditated personnel parachute (P3) operations).
The Navy and Marine Corps Parachutist Insignia (formerly the Naval Parachutist Insignia) is a gold-colored embroidered or metal insignia depicting an open parachute with outstretched wings. It is authorized for officers and enlisted personnel who were awarded the Basic Parachutist Insignia and, under competent orders, have completed a minimum of five additional static-line or P3 jumps, to include: (1) combat equipment day jump, two (2) combat equipment night jumps, and employ at least two (2) different types of military aircraft.
Training is accomplished by successful completion of the prescribed course of instruction while attending the:
U.S. Army Basic Airborne Course,
U.S. Army Basic Military Free-Fall Parachutist Course, or
other training certified by Chief of Naval Education and Training (CNET) or approved by the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO).
Special Operations Parachute Rigger
Special Operations Parachute Riggers work with Navy SEALS, Naval Special Warfare (NSW) and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) units throughout the world. They inspect, maintain, pack, and use specialized premeditated personnel static line and Military Free Fall Parachute Systems. They use and maintain specialized aerial delivery and re-supply systems, and helicopter insertion and extraction systems unique to NSW and EOD units. They function as Parachute Jump (PJ) and Helicopter Rope Suspension Techniques (HRST) masters. They also perform paraloft management, administrative functions, ordnance handling functions, and Quality Assurance (QA) inspections.
The Special Operations Parachute Rigger NEC is awardable upon completion of Army courses 431 F3 PARA NAVY or 860 43E10. Special Operations Parachute Rigger NEC OJT is awardable if personnel attached to a rigger unit of EOD for 1 year and observed by Army/Navy school graduate and qualified prior to 1 July 1990 (CNO WASH DC 110512Z Aug 90 refers). 3. Personnel other than PRs must hold NEC 53XX to be assigned this NEC.
The United States Navy Parachute Team, commonly known as the Leap Frogs, is the parachute demonstration team of the United States Navy. It consists of active-duty personnel drawn from Naval Special Warfare (NSW), including Navy SEALs, Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewmen (SWCC), Aircrew Survival Equipmentmen (PRs), and support personnel . The Leap Frogs are all volunteers. The team is sanctioned by the Department of Defense and recognized by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The team was officially commissioned as the U.S. Navy Parachute Team in 1974 by the Chief of Naval Operations and assigned the mission of demonstrating Navy excellence throughout the United States. After performances, the Leap Frogs make themselves available to the public to answer questions about the Navy and the Naval Special Warfare community, as well as to sign autographs.
- Currently, the parachute team continues to train despite the demonstration schedule being cut due to Sequestration 2013.
Qualifications and Interest
Personnel in the PR rating should be people-oriented, have a good memory, be resourceful, meticulous at detail work and record keeping, possess good manual dexterity and have an orientation toward tools, equipment and machines. They must be able to work well as part of a team. Helpful attributes are curiosity, writing and speaking skills and physical fitness. PRs must possess a complete awareness and appreciation of details and be able to follow through every step of the way.
Duties in the PR rating are usually performed indoors in aircraft hangars and on board carriers. They also may work outdoors on flight decks and on Naval Air Station flight lines.
The opportunities for placement in this rating are good for qualified applicants. About 1,600 men and women work in the PR rating. However, advancement to the most senior positions are extremely difficult to attain, as only 6 Parachute Rigger Master Chiefs(E-9) are currently on active duty.
ASVAB Score Requirement: VE+AR+MK+AS = 185 or MK+AS+AO =140
First Sea Tour: 36 months
First Shore Tour: 42 months
Second Sea Tour: 36 month
Second Shore Tour: 36 month
Third Sea Tour: 42 month
Third Shore Tour: 36 month
Fourth Sea Tour: 42 month
Forth Shore Tour: 36 month
Note: Sea tours and shore tours for sailors that have completed four sea tours will be 36 months at sea followed by 36 months ashore until retirement.
- Purchasing Manager
- Production Manager
- Master Parachute Rigger (FAA)
- Senior Parachute Rigger (FAA)
- Explosives Handling Experts
- Line Supervisors
- Sewing Machine Operators
Notable Parachute Riggers
- Chief Alva Starr and Chief Lyman Ford, 1st Navy Parachute Riggers
- PRCM William Offenhauser, Navy's first Master Chief Parachute Rigger
- PRCM Gregory A. Carroll, Fleet Readiness Center Mid Atlantic (FRCMA)
- PRC Jeff Hobrath, NavyChief.com
- PRC Marie E. Johnson, 2011 Pacific Fleet Sailor of the Year
- PRC Amy E. Davis, 2010 United States Fleet Forces Sea Sailor of the Year
- PR1 Thomas Kinn, US Navy Parachute Team
- PR1 Andrew J. Lightner, Navy SEAL Team (Killed In Training, 2009)
- PR1 Jack Shultz, SEAL Team One (Vietnam War)
- PR3 Julius J. Stocinis Jr., SEAL Team One (Vietnam War)
"The last to let you down"
The phrase is a double allusion that makes reference to a pilot that has ejected from his aircraft being safely lowered, or let down, to the ground, while also half wittingly making a jab at aircraft mechanics who may have 'let the pilot down' by not providing an adequate amount of service to the aircraft causing them to eject. The bottom line is attention to detail. The items PRs inspect and maintain throughout the fleet are only used in an emergency. They must work the first time.
- "Navy enlisted manpower and personnel classifications". Bureau of Naval Personnel. US Navy. Archived from the original on 2 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-11.