Author Topic: William Pitsenbarger: The commando who died so that others could live  (Read 696 times)

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William Pitsenbarger: The commando who died so that others could live

Stavros Atlamazoglou | June 24, 2021

Every military branch, community, or unit takes great pride in its history and the men and women who shaped it. There are few better ways to build esprit de corps than by immersing a freshly arrived troop or candidate in the history of the unit. Some communities and units have more history than they can use, a testament of hard-fought actions or heroics from past legends. For others, which might be newer or less fortunate in the eyes of fate, the actions of one or two troops may serve to define the whole community.

Established in 1946 and often attached to other special operations units, the Air Force Pararescue community falls under the latter category. And it was the actions of Airman 1st Class William H. “Bill” Pitsenbarger and his dedication to the Pararescue creed “So That Others May Live” that defined what it means to be a PJ.
Combat Search and Rescue

Pitsenbarger was born on July 8, 1944, just shy of a month after the invasion of Normandy, in Piqua, Ohio. When he reached his senior year in high school, Pitsenbarger pleaded with his parents to let him drop out of school and join the Army Special Forces. Like all sensible parents, they prohibited it, forcing Pitsenbarger to enlist upon graduation in the Air Force, thanks to its less dangerous lifestyle. But after boot camp, Pitsenbarger’s was still intent to find his way into special operations, and he volunteered for the Pararescue pipeline.