listen if you insult cats you are also insulting me
Have to get this off my chest, because I see Sam called Major a lot.
Pararescueman (Sometimes called Parajumpers or PJs) in the USAF, which we’re told Sam was, is an enlisted position. Sam Wilson was a non-commissioned officer - I’m gonna guess he was at least a Sergeant and given the level of specialised training, probably a Staff Sergeant.
Pararescuemen have officers - they are called Combat Rescue Officers. They have most of the same training (though not all in as much detail) plus officer/strategic training. The idea is that the PJs are the detail guys (concentrating on individual casualties) the CRO keeps a wider, coordinating view, so doesn’t (or at least tries not to) get tied down with his hands stuck in somebody’s guts. I don’t think it is very likely a CRO would be strapping on a wingsuit, but in any case if Sam says he was Pararescue that means by definition that he was an NCO.
(Why does this bother me? Because while I think for most writers it’s a well-meant ‘well he was brave and important, must have been an officer’ that’s ignoring the many highly trained and skilled people who can be found among the NCOs. Making Sam an officer may feel like valueing him up, but it’s also kind of valueing NCOs down)
From what my googling’s turned up (sorry, away from my notes right now) a Pararescuemen in that kind of position (regardless of what equipment he’s using) would probably be an Airman First Class or Senior Airman. But yeah, definitely not an officer.
Some official links for info: http://www.airforce.com/careers/detail/pararescue-males-only/
http://www.airforce.com/special-operations/#/badge-combat-rescue-officer (includes physical fitness prep PDF)
Also, some great answers at this forum: http://forums.military.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/9701924461/m/9160022392001