My old pipeline friend Nick Gibson is joining up with the USAF’s Seven Summits team to summit Mount Everest next spring. As soon as I was able to contain my insane jealousy, I thought I’d better get in touch with him to see what it was all about. My fondest memories of Nick, a former collegiate swimmer at the University of Florida, was remembering how he used to kick the shit out of all of us in the pool. Dude would finish a 4000 meter fin swim and I’d be on like lap ten. Bastard. BK

Nick, it’s great catching up with you. Start off by telling us how you got into the Pararescue career field:

I ended up in Pararescue on a break from college. My father was a flight surgeon who lectured to the PJ’s in the 60’s. He asked me what I wanted to do with my life and I told him I wanted to do something that required extreme training and used my college swimming experience but was about helping people. He told me I should check out the PJs and I brushed it off. Like my old man could know what I wanted to do. Yeah, yeah…maybe he knows a thing or two. The events of 9/11 sealed the deal for me and I enlisted after undergrad and a year and a half of paperwork. I’ve never once regretted it.

Yeah, the old men know the score. What are some of the duty stations you’ve had, and how was your experience there?

My first duty station was Hurlburt Field, Florida. It was a great place to learn solid tactical operations and medicine. I deployed to Iraq and gained valuable mission experience with that time overseas. After two years, I pushed to transition into the Alaska Air National Guard and the 212th Rescue Squadron, where I worked with some of the best people, operators and support personnel, I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with in the military.

The mission in Alaska is unparalleled and the deployment we had was that of legends. I just missed some of the best PJ mission work that was performed by my colleagues. I was honored to have called them my teammates.

I transferred to the 308th Rescue Squadron in Cocoa Beach, Florida, once I began physician assistant school at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. I have been nothing but impressed with what I’ve seen and experienced with this unit. PA school has been a smooth transition from the pararescue world and a perfect fit for my skill set as the physician assistant career field intended with it’s origins.

Obviously, as a PJ, you’ve had plenty of rock and ice experience. Did you have any climbing experience before the military?