On Tuesday, 8 October a Pararescueman (PJ) was killed during mountain rescue training in Boise, Idaho.
Technical Sergeant Peter Kraines, 33, was assigned to the 24th Special Tactics Squadron, 24th Special Operations Wing (24th SOW).
In a press release, U.S. Air Force Colonel Matthew Allen, the commanding officer of the 24th SOW, said that “this is a tragic loss to the Special Tactics community. We are grateful for the support from our community and our [Air Force Special Operations Command] teammates. Our thoughts are with his family, friends, and teammates at this time.”
Tech Sgt. Kraines enlisted in the Air Force in 2011. Upon completing the arduous PJ pipeline, he was assigned to the 347th Rescue Group, Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. In 2017, he attempted and successfully complete the selection and assessment process for the 24th Special Tactics Squadron (24th STS).
The 24th STS is the Air Force’s Tier 1 SOF unit. Alongside the Army’s Delta Force and the Navy’s Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU), also known as SEAL Team 6, the 24th STS is part of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC).
His awards and decorations include an Air Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Aerial Achievement Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal, Air Force Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Meritorious Unit Award, Air Force Longevity Service Award, Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon with Gold Border, Small Arms Expert Ribbon, Air Force BMT Honor Graduate Ribbon, Air Force Training Ribbon and NATO Medal.
Pararescuemen are the only asset in the entire Department of Defence (DoD) specifically trained and equipped to conduct Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) and Personnel Recovery (PR) operations. By the end of their approximately two years of selection and training pipeline, PJs are combat-diver and freefall parachuting qualified. They are also national registered paramedics and experts in Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC).
Upon completion of their training, PJs are assigned to either Rescue Squadrons (RSQ) or Special Tactics Squadrons (STS). The former are more geared toward CSAR and PR operations, whereas the latter are more combat-oriented; STS deploy teams or individual operators in support of other Special Operations units. This arrangement is set to change with the creation of the Special Warfare Squadrons (SWS), which will incorporate all of their Air Force’s SOF careerfields (Pararescuemen, Combat Controllers, Special Reconnaissance, and Tactical Air Control Party operators).