This is it. You’ve made it though the US Air Force’s MEPS, you took the oath, and went off to basic training.

You weren’t one of those types who just thought you’d sort out a job when you got there, oh no. You always knew what you wanted. You wanted to be with the best, be part of an elite team.

You signed a USAF pararescue contract.

You were able to pass the pre-qualification test with a recruiter, a little run-swim-calisthenics workout that showed that you were up to the challenge. And now basic training is over, and it’s time to get it on. So you begin the USAF Pararescue Indoctrination Course, a selection course of 10 weeks long that is considered one of the toughest schools in the military.

Class attrition rates are often over 80%, sometimes 90%. There have been classes of one. There was a class of zero. And you are now a cone, a conehead, the informal nickname of the trainees of USAF pararescue.

It’s time to start whittling down that pointy conehead until it’s fit to don the maroon beret of the USAF pararescueman. And you’re here now, and you know what you’re getting into. You told yourself that, no matter what, you would never quit.

So now what?

PJ Water Confidence Training
PJ Water Confidence Training

0415 hours. The alarm clock goes off. You struggle to your feet, trying to clear the cobwebs, and  enter the dark hallway of the barracks where dozens of other young men are going about their morning ablutions.