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Search and Rescue Operations Specialist ... (Military - Enlisted)

What They Do

About This Career

Search and rescue operations specialists are responsible for locating personnel in distress, delivering them to safety, and providing necessary medical care. They operate in a range of environments and often require skills such as swimming/diving or parachuting. They may use advanced communications and imaging equipment to assist search and rescue efforts and are sometimes involved in the recovery of military equipment.

This career is part of the Government and Public Administration cluster National Security pathway.

A person in this career:

  • Plans, coordinates, and conducts Personnel Recovery (PR), technical rescue, and material recovery in all geographic and environmental conditions
  • Performs survival, evasion, resistance, and escape (SERE) in permissive, hostile, denied, or politically and/or diplomatically sensitive environments by land (mounted, special purpose vehicle, or dismounted), sea (surface or subsurface naval vessel, small watercraft, self-contained underwater breathing apparatus [SCUBA], or surface swim) or air (parachute, airmobile, air-land)
  • Participates in the full spectrum of military missions to include air expeditionary force, force projection, direct action (DA), counterinsurgency (COIN), counter narcotic (CN), counterterrorism (CT), countering weapons of mass destruction (CWMD), foreign internal defense (FID), unconventional warfare (UW), security force assistance, humanitarian assistance, hostage rescue and recovery, personnel recovery (PR), noncombatant evacuation operations (NEO), and advanced force operations (AFO)
  • Employs specialized equipment to access and recover personnel and/or equipment from avalanche, alpine, confined space/structural collapse, high angle, swiftwater, and underwater environments
  • Plans, coordinates, and conducts emergency medical care; employs specialized equipment to assess, diagnose, treat, stabilize, and transport patients with minor to immediate life threatening illnesses and/or injuries
  • Provides ground-to-air interface or conducts discrete surface-to-air and surface electronic and visual communications and signaling activities
  • Operates and maintains all types of extinguishers, and maintains individual protective clothing and self-contained breathing apparatus
  • Performs the duties of firefighter dispatcher and utilizes proper radio communication techniques and procedures as applied to airfield operations
  • Operates and performs driver operator maintenance and inspection on all types of firefighting, support vehicles, and heavy equipment
  • Performs material requisitions, inventory, issue, and accounting supply functions

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 20 lbs., sometimes up to 50 lbs. You might do a lot of lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling.
  • Conditions are very hot (above 90 F) or very cold (under 32 F)
  • Exposed to conditions such as high voltage electricity, combustibles, explosives, and chemicals more than once a month
  • Exposed to hazardous situations involving possible injury such as cuts, bites, stings, and minor burns more than once a month
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Irregular hours


  • Email Support

  • 1-800-GO-TO-XAP (1-800-468-6927)
    From outside the U.S., please call +1 (424) 750-3900


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