The 48th Rescue Squadron from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., participated in an exercise from April 8-18, 2019.
Razor’s Edge is a two-week long exercise where pararescuemen train to be better prepared for unilateral and joint combat search and rescue operations in any situation and environment. To meet these expectations they endure rigorous training reflective of real-world scenarios that they may encounter downrange.
This Razor’s Edge included Combat Rescue officers, pararescuemen, Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape specialists and multiple Combat Mission Support personnel from the 48th RQS, members from the 943d Aerospace Medical Squadron and 60th Medical Group Critical Care Air Transport and Tactical Critical Care Evacuation teams, and support from the 79th RQS, 88th Test and Evaluation Squadron, 563d Operations Support Squadron Aerial Delivery Support Branch and 71st Special Operations Squadron.
“Before each team deploys we do a thorough mission analysis of the combat zones they’ll be deploying to,” said Master Sgt. Sean Herlihy, 48th RQS Guardian Angel Flight Chief. “We look at the most probable courses of action with regard to [infiltration] and [exfiltration] platforms that the teams will most likely be using.”
With this information the 48th RQS sets up scenarios to test the team’s abilities. This iteration of Razor’s Edge had the pararescuemen deal with tyranny of distance problems that required personnel and heavy equipment parachute drops, and water extractions.
“We have teams who are capable of parachuting into the water and we have helicopter teams who are capable of recovering isolated personnel in a maritime environment,” Herlihy said.
Going through these exercise scenarios prior to their deployment helps the team establish a clear vision of what’s to come and arms them with the skillset to successfully execute their core function of personnel recovery downrange.
“It’s a fantastic effort from both operations and logistics, and a tremendous amount of man hours goes to it from all sides,” Herlihy said. “It’s pretty awesome to watch it all come together in the course of two weeks.”