US Air Force Pararescuemen execute innovative aircraft exits from the rear ramp of a C-130 during Pacific Angel 2022, a six-nation search and rescue exercise in Malaysia. Air Force photos by Senior Airman Jesse Roth.
US Air Force pararescuemen teamed up with elite Malaysian Pasukan Khas Udara rescue operators to train for disasters in a rare pan-Pacific, all-Air Force search and rescue exercise in Malaysia.
Pasukan Khas Udara are the Malaysian equivalent of the Air Force's pararescue special operators, who are also known as PJs.
As part of Pacific Angel 2022, the operators teamed up for bilateral training on a mass-casualty exercise and free-fall parachuting from a C-130J — including some acrobatic, not-strictly-by-the-book-but-hey-why-not exits like flips and handstands captured by an Air Force photographer.
U.S. Air Force pararescuemen exit the back of a C-130J Super Hercules during Exercise Pacific Angel at Kuantan Air Base, Malaysia, Aug. 18, 2022. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jessi Roth.
Pacific Angel took place at Subang and Kuantan air bases in Malaysia, ending Friday, Aug. 19. About 75 US personnel took part, Air Force officials said. The exercise focused not on direct combat skills but on disaster and humanitarian relief missions. US military forces in the Pacific frequently lead multination responses to large disasters and other humanitarian crises in Asia, with Air Force rescue personnel often being the first people called upon.
The exercise included flight crews and PJs from the US Pacific Air Forces, Royal Malaysian Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force, and observers from Mongolia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, Air Force officials said. PJs from Moody Air Force Base in Georgia also participated.
U.S. Air Force PJs and Royal Malaysian Air Force Pasukan Khas Udara operators prepare jump gear during Exercise Pacific Angel at Subang Air Base, Malaysia, Aug. 18, 2022. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jessi Roth.
“This exercise was a home run for building relationships with our partners in the Pacific,” said US Air Force Lt. Col. Skye Nakayama, the exercise director.
It was the United States’ first air exercise in Malaysia since 2018.
Pararescuemen assigned to the 38th Rescue Squadron jump from the back of a C-130J for over-water personnel recovery operations during Exercise Pacific Angel, near Kuantan Air Base, Malaysia, Aug. 17, 2022. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jessi Roth.
The exercise culminated with a series of free-fall parachuting events, a search and rescue exercise, and a simulated casualty evacuation on board a C-130J Super Hercules from the 374th Airlift Wing from Yokota Air Base.
The jumps included both a dry-land free-fall jump and a water jump. For the water jump, the PJs deployed a Rigging Alternate Method Boat, a parachute-rigged package of an inflatable boat.
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Matt White is a former senior editor for Coffee or Die Magazine. He was a pararescueman in the Air Force and the Alaska Air National Guard for eight years and has more than a decade of experience in daily and magazine journalism.
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