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This was previously posted in forums by Kari - but thought I would post it here to (it's good info. for the new people in the group - like me!) Thanks Kari and BB!

Here goes.......

After Boot Camp PIR, your son will go to Pensacola. He may be on hold there for a couple of months before classing up for NACCS (Naval Air Crew Candidacy School). My son was on hold for about 6 weeks last spring (08).  NACCS is about 5-6 weeks, depending on how long processing takes.  After graduating NACCS, he will most likely be on hold again before classing up for RSS (Rescue Swimmer School). RSS is 5 weeks long.  After RSS graduation, they usually are on hold again for a month or more.  Rescue Swimmers are AW rate. (Aviation Warfare). They serve as Air Crew for the AW's.  They will have another "job" on board, but are considered Rescue Swimmers first.  As far as what they do, they sit in the gunners chair right behind the pilot.  They are responsible for contact with the tower for the pilot, and contact with the pilot.  They are to be constantly looking out for an emergency landing spot.  They learn in their training what to look for.  The RS also pre-flights the entire helo before flying (2-3 hours).  They have the right to ground a helo, if they don't see it fit to fly.  He has had to ground a couple already for things that weren't fixed on previous lists.  After each flight, they do a checklist report of what wasn't working correctly on the flight that needs to be fixed before it flies again.  The RS needs to know how to read the mission display, they are "back up eyes and brains" for the pilots.  Interestingly, the Coast Guard goes to school a lot longer for RS, 14 months I think, but when they are done, they know NOTHING about the helo that they fly in.  He said most of them don't even know what kind of engine is in it, or what kind of oil it takes!!!  Navy trains their RS to know EVERYTHING about the helo, down to the last BOLT!!!  Pretty cool.  He said if there came a time when it is needed, they could even fly the helo if something happens to the pilot, they know that much.  He said that doesn't happen much though.  If something happened to the pilot, there isn't much time to get him out of the seat.  The Sierra can carry up to 12 people, so it is much more stripped down for SAR/Combat rescues.
What rate within the AW rate they have will depend on which "platform" (aircraft) they will serve as Air Crew on.  They usually are "chosen" for this platform, but are sometimes allowed to give a "preference".  My son is on the Sierra, which is a sea combat platform, whereas the "Romeo" is more of a "mine and sub chaser".  AW School has 9 platforms.  Each platform is directed at a different aircraft. Rescue Swimmers only have 2 choices of platforms (as they can only jump out of a helo...not a plane hee hee )  So they can go H-60R (Romeo) or H-60S (Sierra).  The Romeo is the newest version, and they just officially went into the fleet this past October.  (They have been training the pilots since Oct 2007 for them).  The Romeo is deployed aboard an assault ship, and tracks foreign subs with sonar, and can launch missiles.  Typically, with only a 4 person crew, the RS is the missile minder.  The Romeo is used primarily in ocean rescues.
The Sierra is basically a gutted Huey/Blackhawk.  It has a technically updated flight data system for the pilot, but is otherwise gutted.  It is used to rescue wounded soldiers by land, as well as sea. It is also used in SEAL missions.  It is usually ground based somewhere on foreign soil.  Since RS are highly medically trained, they are used for combat rescues too.  Once they complete AW School (which is their "A" School) they continue to FRS (Fleet Replacement Squadron) training for 6-9 months depending on their "platform".  RS go to Norfolk or SanDiego, as those are the bases that the helos are stationed at primarily.  Sierra FRS is about 5-6 months, as they aren't equipped with all of the radar and computer equiptment to track mines and subs, so training is shorter more rescue oriented-.  Romeo FRS requires more technical training than the Sierra.  After FRS is completed, the RS's are required to go to SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape) Training in Maine or California. Sometimes they will do SERE first and then FRS.  This training is to aid and educate them to evade the enemy, or survive capture. VERY INTENSE!! :0) SERE is 2 weeks long, with NO CONTACT with the outside world for the lst week. :) From there, they will be sent to the fleet.

By the way, RSS is considered a "C" School, so Rescue Swimmers actually attend their "C" School BEFORE their "A" School ;0) I thought that was interesting.   HUGS

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Replies to This Discussion

Great Information!  Thanks so much.  My son is currenly @ boot camp with a PIR date of 8/5.  I live in Pensacola so I'm looking forward to him doing some training here!


Wow!! Thank you for this post! My SR graduates BC 9/1/11 also so I'm glad to have read this.

This is a lot of good information. Thanks. The recruiter told us it could be 3 mos. to 1 year between MEPS and BC. I was wondering what some of your sons'/daughters' wait time was before getting to BC. My son is planning to enlist soon.



Our son started basic in May a year and a half ago. Mother's day was tough as he was not allowed to call home and the card he sent (postmarked six days before mother's day) actually arrived the following January! We flew to Chicago for the graduation and spent the weekend with him. An amazing transformation! We did not see him again until Christmas! My husband flew to P'cola for his birthday. He moved on to SanDiego in June. He is coming home for Christmas again. It has been a year since I've seen him! Though, thanks to skype and smart phones, once basic was over we've heard from him at least once a week.

Hello eveyone!

I was randomly looking for some info and found this forum. My hubby is a Rescue Swimmer and we just got orders to head to San Diego for his FRS (Fleet Replacement Squadron). For those who doesnt know, normally they leave boot camp and are headed to Pensacola. Sometimes they are allow to take "leave" aka vacation time but some prefer to save the time for later. Once they get there it takes around 1-2 months before they class up for their first school which is NACCS, then they wait again aprox 1-2 months and class up for RSS which is 5 weeks long. ONce they finish this they move to ther "other" side of base and then takes them 1-2 more months to class up for A-school. It takes approximately 7-8 months to finish and be send to FRS for Sierras and about a year for Romeos. A-school is 6 weeks long for SIerras and 18 weeks long for Romeos. Once they are done with this school they get sent to FRS. Sierras go to San Diego or Norfolk and Romeos go to Jacksonville or San Diego. Like it was said on the previous post they can do SERE (2 weeks training) either at the beggining right away, in the middle or even at the end. It all depends on availability and space. FRS training its supposed to be pretty decent and allows them to have more of a "normal" life. They are normally attach to squadrons that will then take them to their permanent squadron once they graduate. I'm not sure about Virginia but in California they are attach to HSC-10 and HSC-3. HSC-10 is consider "top of the notch" since its now assign as a Special Ops squadron and works mainly with SEALs and combat rescues. Just FYI warn your sons/husbands that they will have much more of an intense training if they get this squadron and in the end less time at home (like me, I go with my sailor wherever he goes BUT there's gonna be tons of deployments I'm sure). HSC-3 will normally take you to HSC-25 but things can change for this squadron so its not a set and stone thing. I hope all this helps, because in my case, I was new to all this and it takes to be home alone to find all this info!!! Good luck and God bless all of your sons/husbands/brothers/ etc

So about how long do you think my husband will be training in Pensacola for AIRR? If its too long I want to move down there to be with him

Lydia, you need to be send Cyber flowers and chocolates for taking time to write this out for us.  Thank you!!!

This info was very helpful  My son is currently at bootcamp with a PIR of 10/12/2012.....then off to Pensacola.  Thanks for informing me of the path ahead. Interesting reading on the NACCS School.

Thanks for the info - it really is an informative site - my sailor just graduated boot camp and is on hold in Pensacola to be an Air Rescue Swimmer - sounds tough, hope he can make it.

Hi I just wanted to ask how long was ur sons training for AIRR in pensacola ? My husband is about to start his A school there and we are so confused about the length of time he will be in FL?


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