Search and Rescue
Search and rescue or SAR is an operation to locate and extract personnel who have been stranded, either by accident or through hostile action. If performed under combat conditions it may be known as Combat Search and Rescue, or CSAR. SAR can be performed to rescue large numbers of people from doomed planets and starships, or to rescue individuals who have been stranded or captured in the line of duty. SAR operations may be performed by either Starfleet crews, by dedicated rescue teams or even by civilians.
Just prior to the 24th Century, Starfleet determined that dedicated Search and Rescue units would be beneficial to rescue spacefarers in distress and extract stranded personnel from within enemy controlled territory. The inspiration for such units and personnel came from a similar force of the United States military called the United States Air Force Pararescue command.
Just like 20th and 21st Century Pararescuemen, SAR Operatives were to be proficient not only in emergency medical treatments and diagnosis, but also combat skills to defend their patients from hostile forces.
Search and Rescue
Starfleet SAR units draw their organization from similar units from Earth's 20th and 21st centuries. There are three flights in a SAR Squadron. Although larger operations, specifically CSAR operations may require additional forces, including air support units and fire support from larger Starfleet vessels. The three main components of a SAR squadron are:
- Extraction Flight
- One company of security personnel that are also highly trained in emergency medical procedures and first responder treatments.
- Evacuation Flight
- Highly trained surgeons and emergency physicians and various medical specialties.
- Technical Support Flight
- Maintenance personnel (engineers), small craft pilots, operations specialists, supply experts, transporter experts.
Each member of a SAR Squadron flight is required to be proficient in his primary area, and additionally must crosstrain in the area of another flight in the squadron. Owing to the fact that the units operate behind enemy lines on a routine basis, a premium is placed on combat lifesaving and combat training.
- Rescue Coordinator
- Manager Search Rescue
- Assistant Search Rescue
- Technical Rescue
- Rescue Service
- Rescue Technician
- Rescue Specialist
Selection and Training
Any Starfleet personnel may volunteer for the year and a half long selection process held on various locations on Earth. Selection is a physically and mentally trying period, with some classes not graduating a single being.
The eighteen month course is known as 'The Pipeline' and consists of the following schools:
|This two week course provides physical training under the oversight of sports physiologists and swimming trainers to familiarize and teach the trainees the required skills to succeed in the Indoctrination Course.|
|At this school, participants undergo ten weeks of extensive physical conditioning with swimming, running, weight training and calisthenics. This course helps prepare students for the rigors of training and the demands of Search and Rescue. Other training includes physiological, obstacle courses, rucksack marches, diving physics, dive tables, metric manipulations, medical terminology, dive terminology, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, weapons qualifications, history of Search and Rescue, and the leadership reaction course. Graduation of this course is the "ticket to ride the pipeline" and begin learning the special skills that make Search and Rescue Operatives very highly regarded.|
|This six week course is divided into four blocks of instruction: (1) Diving Theory, (2) Infiltration/Exfiltration Methods, (3) Open Circuit Diving Operations, and (4) Closed Circuit Diving Operations. The primary focus of CWSC is to develop total comfort in aquatic environments. Primarily it is to prepare candidates for zero-gravity training for the aerospace operations phases of training. A typical day at this school would start with a morning run at 0530 and swimming three to eight thousand meters, followed by what can be described as near drowning experiences. Buddy breathing with a snorkel under constant harassment by instructors(called 'Sharking') and the 'Object Retrievals' (retrieving items such as phaser rifles, equipment canisters, weights, etc) follows shortly thereafter. The object is to create calm where terror of drowning once existed. This phase is responsible for almost half the attrition of a class, although the Indoctrination course is responsible for the majority of drops.|
|In this three week course, students learn every method of inserting onto the surface of a planet ranging from shuttlecraft landings to orbital skydiving.|
|This five week course teaches basic operations in Zero G and starship environments.|
|This two and a half week course teaches basic survival techniques for remote areas using minimal equipment. This includes instruction of principles, procedures, equipment and techniques that help individuals to survive, regardless of climatic conditions or unfriendly environments, and return home.|
|This twenty-two week course teaches how to manage trauma patients prior to evacuation and provide emergency medical treatment. Phase I is five weeks of emergency medical technician basic (EMT-B) training. Phase II lasts 17 weeks and provides instruction in minor field surgery, pharmacology, combat trauma management, advanced airway management and military evacuation procedures. Field Exercises are typically executed on the terrain of the Australian Outback. Graduates of this course are awarded their Level II Emergency Medical Certifications.|
|This twenty-four week course qualifies Starfleet personnel of all ranks as SAR Operatives for assignment to any SAR unit in Federation space. Training includes field medical care and tactics, mountaineering, combat tactics, transporter operations, and starship operations. It is here that candidates are assigned their respective squadrons and learn which flight they are to be assigned.|
Combat Rescue Operations
Establishing a career field devoted to that mission will ensure that attention is always focused on this commitment. Starfleet recognizes personnel recovery as one of its primary roles and this new specialty is essential to effectively lead and advocate the PR mission area. Qualification will be accomplished through formal training and in the unit as the combat rescue officers gain experience and knowledge of the current challenges in the personnel recovery functional area.
CROs must be capable of deploying by the most advantageous means into their mission areas. For this reason, a variety of deployment techniques are used. The level of training you receive in certain insertion/recovery methods will be dependent upon the unit you are assigned.
Possible Roles & Functions
The CRO career field offers officers a unique opportunity to lead and command combat rescue operations as direct combatants. The demands are high and outstanding leadership qualities are a must. Excellent physical fitness, maturity, and exceptional personal responsibility are essential characteristics of the Combat Rescue Operative.
- Security clearance: Secret (attainable)
- Starfleet line officers and marines are welcome to apply.
- Retainability: Three years (minimum)
- Volunteer for hazardous duty: Aircrew duty, aerospace duty (including military free-fall) and combat diver (underwater) duty. (Must already be a strong swimmer).
- Background: Outstanding military and/or civilian resume, as appropriate.
- Medical/Physical: Class III flight physical as outlined in this package. See Para 3.3.8
- Physical fitness: As a minimum, an applicant must satisfactorily complete the minimum number of Physical Ability and Stamina Test (PAST) exercise repetitions and run/swim in less than the maximum allowable times.
Your training will take approximately 12-18 months and includes eight schools. You will be offered to take leave at some point during training, but this cannot be guaranteed. Students travel from school to school as a class, with the ranking student in charge. Training consists of the following schools:
|The mission of the Pararescue indoctrination course is to recruit, train, and select future Pararescuemen and CROs. At this school you will participate in extensive physical conditioning with lots of swimming, running, weight training and calisthenics.
This course helps prepare you for the rigors of training and the demands of these lifestyles. Other training accomplished at this course includes physiological training, obstacle course, dive physics, metric manipulations, medical terminology, dive terminology, CPR, weapons qualifications, history of Pararescue, and leadership laboratories. Graduation of this course is “your ticket to ride” the pipeline and begin learning those special skills that make Pararescuemen highly regarded operators.
|Here you learn the basic parachuting and aerospace insertion skills required to infiltrate an objective area. In the beginning, this course includes ground operations week, tower week, and jump week where you make 5 actual insertions. Personnel who complete this training are awarded the basic insertion rating and are allowed to wear the coveted wings.
This course also includes free fall parachuting (HALO) using the high performance ram air canopy. The course provides wind tunnel training, in-air/space instruction focusing on student stability, descent maneuvers, air sense, and equipment opening procedures. Each student receives a minimum of 30 insertions including 2 day and 2 night jumps with supplemental oxygen, rucksack, and load bearing equipment.
|Here you become a combat diver and learn to use SCUBA to infiltrate areas surrounded by water undetected. This course provides training to depths of 130 ft, stressing development of maximum underwater mobility under various operating conditions.|
|This course teaches how to safely escape from a craft that has ditched in the water. Instruction includes principles, procedures, and techniques necessary to get out of a sinking craft. Training requires personnel to actually experience water entry in a training device and perform underwater egress.|
|This course teaches basic survival techniques for remote areas--using minimal equipment. This includes instruction of principles, procedures, equipment, and techniques which enable individuals to survive, regardless of climatic conditions or unfriendly environments, and return home.|
|PR 101 is conducted by the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency (JPRA) and is an introduction to the service Personnel Recovery system.|
|This entry-level course focuses on application of joint airpower in support of theater commanders. Specific objectives focus on joint ground/spaceborne operations in a theater battle at the operational level of war. This course covers basic doctrine, mission, and organization of the services; the Theater Space/Ground System, command, control, and communications systems; intelligence support capabilities; tactical missions and major weapons systems used in joint operations; capabilities and limitations of command and control warfare (C2W) concepts/strategy; and the computer decision support systems and Marine Battle Command Systems (ABCS) computer tools used in current operations. The course follows a process including lectures, seminars, hands-on computer activities, a C2 exercise prior to the final exam, and end-of-course IQT certification by functional area.|
|Qualifies students in mountaineering, advanced land navigation, weapons handling, pyrotechnics, escape and evasion, small team tactical combat operations, survival procedures and techniques, tactical and rescue parachute insertions, both day and night, in high altitude regions, forests, open oceans, with and without equipment loads, and in Rigging Alternate Method-Zodiac (RAMZ). Qualifies students in alternate insertion and extraction (AIE) from auxiliary space craft. Qualifies students as mission crewmembers on all Starfleet spacecraft. Includes academics, practical training, testing, and evaluation in academics and field environments and flight training.|
The CRO career field offers a number of operational and staff assignments in many organizations including the Command Staff, joint staffs, and operational squadrons/flights located throughout Starfleet.. As a “new” CRO your options are normally limited to one of the larger CRTs, allowing you to receive the right training and mentorship from senior CROs
As a CRO your primary emphasis is on ensuring your team is combat ready and conducting mission management. CROs are expected to lead from the front and set the example for our highly motivated and extremely professional enlisted corp. It will be your charge upon entering the pipeline not only to get you, but your whole team through it. You must stay on top of all your troops requirements and needs and ensure you have the right balance to accomplish the assigned task or mission.
A final note about Combat Rescue Officer duty. The selection and training process is difficult enough, but once an officer qualifies, the position of leadership and continuation training is demanding. There are significant personal dangers involved with the mission and, often, extended periods of duty away from home. The decision to go-for-it should not be made alone, regardless of an applicant's conviction and personal commitment. The family should be considered. Wives and children often experience anxieties, fears, loneliness, and pressures associated with the service member's profession. Those who do adjust find an exciting and rewarding life that they may share with fellow operators and their families. Good luck!
Many thanks to Camila and Joey for compiling this information from multiple sources around the internet and other sims to create this comprehensive guide to Starfleet Search and rescue.