The job of an Aviation Survivalist is basically to function as an Emergency Medical Technician and a helicopter rescue swimmer. They are deployed in a large variety of different and dangerous rescue situations providing rescue and emergency medical evacuations. Some of these take place from sites on the seas, others from cliffs or different dangerous places on shore.
In the United States Coast Guard, as a Aviation Survivalist you will be trained as a EMT Basic, and you will also have opportunities to train and assist other aviators with survival training.
As a Coast Guard AST, you will operate and function as instructor to other aviators in the aircrew training for survival, swim tests, shallow water training and egress, and survival lectures. As a Coast Guard AST you may have opportunities to cross train and serve as other aircrew members, in areas such as Loadmaster, Basic Aircrewman, HC-130 Dropmaster, Sensor Systems Operator, or even HU-25A aircraft Dropmaster. AST specialists in the Coast Guard also assist in aviation administrative duties, aircraft inspection, and other duties.
AST’s receive training on how to help service, maintain, inspect and troubleshoot:
-Cargo delivery systems.
-Helicopter flotation devices.
-And special purpose protective clothing.
Coast Guard Aviation Survivalists Techs help with servicing and handling of helicopters and aircraft, and they assist in storing and caring for aviation ordnance and different pyrotechnic devices. AST’s are assigned for duty anywhere that the Coast Guard serves, at Air Stations throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and elsewhere in the World. AST personnel serve at large or small Coast Guard Air Stations that feature the HC-130, HH-65A, and HH-60J types of aircraft. Following Basic training in Cape May New Jersey, the AST candidate will attend a Class A school for sixteen weeks, followed by a three week EMT course in Petaluma, California. To qualify as an AST, you have to have superior conditioning, with no physical or orthopedic issues.
You must have a high degree of mental toughness, and ability to withstand both mental and physical stress. Training is very intense, and many candidates wash out and are reassigned to different job classification due to the rigor of the training program. After you are assigned to your duty station, you will routinely be assigned some of the most dangerous duty in the Coast Guard. You will routinely risk life and limb to rescue other military personnel, as well as members of the general public. If you believe that this may be something you are suited for, then you should speak to your local Coast Guard Recruiter.