The task of the Aircrew Survival Equipmentman (PR) is self-evident from the title: keeping all gear related to aviation survival in working order. When the rating was created in 1942, this was limited almost entirely to parachute rigging. But the advancement in survival technologies has dramatically expanded the scope of an ASE’S duties.
In addition to packing, rigging, and repairing parachutes, today’s PR is responsible for the maintenance and repair of all flight gear, survival equipment, and specialized protective clothing such as anti-exposure or anti-gravity suits. Flight at high altitudes requires an oxygen supply, so ASE’s must maintain and test liquid-oxygen converters, oxygen regulators, carbon-dioxide transfer and recharge equipment, and other safety gear. Aircrew members forced to “hit the silk” require survival kits, medical supplies, and night-vision goggles, as well life rafts in case of water landings. Other duties include manufacturing fabric and webbing used in survival gear and learning how to use, maintain, and repair sewing machines.
To earn the PR rating, enlisted personnel must complete the Class “A” course in basic aviation theory and rating skills taught at the Naval Technical Training Center in Pensacola, Florida. After completing “A” School, most PRs are assigned either to an aircraft carrier or Naval Air Station to acquire advanced rating skills through hands-on training.