Jonathan Harmon

U.S. Air Force PJ & Combat Rescue Officer Opens Up On Operation Red Wings & What It Took To Save Marcus Luttrell (Part 1)

In this week’s Team Never Quit episode, Marcus has a deep dive conversation with U.S. Air Force PJ, and combat rescue officer, Jonathan Harmon.NOTE: “PJ” (Air Force Pararescuemen) are the only DOD elite combat forces specifically organized, trained, equipped, and postured to conduct full spectrum Personnel Recovery (PR) to include both conventional and unconventional combat rescue operations.
Jonathan was instrumental in successfully locating Marcus in Afghanistan with the most miniscule of data which facilitated his subsequent rescue. Listen in to Jonathan’s fascinating details of all that it takes to bring our soldiers home.

In this episode you will hear:
• My Aunt was a WASP (Women’s Auxiliary Service Pilot). She flew aircraft across the Atlantic, and trained other pilots. They would test and assure that an aircraft was safe to fly. (10:06)
• I had absolutely no intention of joining the military. I was into skating & surfboarding. (16:28)
• I loved skydiving. I was with my peeps for the first time in my life. (23:23)
• [Red ants] get real pissed off when you do 8 counts on top of them. (29:57)
• [In Afghanistan rescue missions] you’re out there rescuing kids and village elders. You want to let them know that you stand shoulder to shoulder with them. You’re not gonna leave ‘em high and dry. (51:09)
• It wasn’t that I traded a life for a degree, but that how it felt. I promised myself that I would never allow my education get in the way of my job. (65:33)
• One of the best things we learned was that one of the best medicines, sometimes, is lead. (70:12)
• Most people don’t know that 1003 Victor became known as Iraqi Freedom. (75:42)
• I had the chance to coordinate about 1,000 rescue missions. Recovery missions as well as rescue missions. (76:05)
• Reintegration is the process that returns people with homer, helping them transition back from captivity or isolation, back to their units and families so they can become “value added.” (78:18)
• We’re seeing Post traumatic stress in epic proportions. (79:26)
• As a PJ, we focus on medical – combat medicine. (80:41)
• I can’t declare a personnel recovery event, because they’re not my forces. (91:38)
• It’s important to know that a report has to come through a channel that is bonafide. (91:47)
• [Operation Red Wings – After a series of signals and analysis, I thought] what I feel like is that I’ve got somebody on the run. And I’m really certain it’s an American, because of where they’re running and how they’re running. And it gave me a confidence factor that I had at least one survivor. [97:34)

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