Know your risks before you fly.
Know your risks before you fly.

The United States Air Force is one of the most intellectually demanding branches of the U.S. Armed Services, and any member of the Air Force may face on-the-job physical risks as well. However, some positions entail less danger than others, and it is important to be aware of the odds of injury, depending on the role you take. A few positions in particular are extremely high-risk, and should only be chosen by those fully aware of those risks and ready to take them.

Explosive Ordinance Disposal

The USAF Explosive Ordinance Disposal unit is charged with removing explosives from the field. The EOD unit will often handle live explosives and fully assembled weapons, ranging from professionally designed missiles which have not properly detonated to improvised explosive devices. Due to the exposure to chemicals and the constant risk to life and limb, there is both a high incidence of fatality and a high incidence of injury. A particular problem is stress, and EOD personnel are monitored constantly to ensure they are successfuly coping with the psychogical strains of their very dangerous job.

Combat Rescue Officer

The role of the Combat Rescue Officer is to locate and remove U.S. personnel who are lost in the field behind enemy lines. Often this will entail parachuting with a small force behind enemy lines, possibly engaging the enemy in a firefight if discovered, and it may also involve complex combat medicine tasks depending on the medical status of the recovered personnel. Air Force Combat Rescue Officers may also serve as advisors to other branches of the Armed Forces during personnel recovery operations.

AFOSI Officer

The Air Force Office of Special Investigations serves as the Air Force's intelligence branch. AFOSI Officers regularly investigate felonies on Air Force property, such as theft of Air Force materials. They also engage in intelligence gathering and counterintelligence activities, and may be called upon to assist with anti-terrorist activities. AFOSI Officers are at substantial risk due to regularly investigating and confronting criminals in the field. Encounters with major terrorist organizations and organized crime rings are part of AFOSI work, and gathering intelligence on such groups carries considerable risk if detected.