Pararescuemen Senior Master Sgt. Jeremy Diola and Master Sgt. Cody Inman rescued an injured hunter in the remote Alaskan wilderness by parachuting 3,000 feet above ground level into the wilderness. The hunter was mauled by a grizzly bear in the middle of nowhere, a highway not being within 150 miles. Tech. Sgt. Katelyn Magnuson heard word of the attack and knew that the pararescuemen were the men for the job; the hunter was in critical condition and lost a lot of blood. Time was of the essence. The pararescuemen received the green light from their commander.
Pararescue (Pjs for short) are trained on everything from combat diving to altitude parachuting, all of which have a heavy emphasis on search and rescue tactics and trauma medicine. It takes two-years to go through the training pipeline. Due to the many possibilities of something going wrong, even for elite Special Operations, parachute jumps are rare. For this particular situation, however, there seemed to be very little risk factors. Diola said, “It was a lower risk from the jump side, and the benefits of getting there faster—even if it’s minutes—made for the course of action we took.” So exiting the aircraft at 3,000 feet above ground, they landed within 500 meters of the injured hunter. The situation was dire; Inman confirmed that it was a ‘cat alpha’ or an urgent surgical patient. The hunter was treated, packaged and taken to a nearby town, Galena, for further emergency transportation. The hunter was taken to the ER at the Providence Alaska Medical Center. He survived thanks to everyone involved, especially the Pjs.