Inside Combat Rescue: Coming Home

With only weeks left in their deployment, the PJs look toward home. Matt longs to see his wife who is due to give birth to their daughter soon after his deployment is over. The unit’s longest serving PJ, Duane, as always, promised his wife that he would come back to his family.

But when the Taliban detonates a motorcycle bomb near Kandahar city, the PJs are reminded that they are a long way from home. Ten civilians need immediate rescue, and to make room for the casualties, Jeff sits the mission out, leaving Duane in charge. As the helicopters liftoff, Seth is concerned it’s an enemy ploy. “It’s a bigger win to shoot down the aircraft than it is to blow up their own people.” Just then, the power at the base goes dark during an ill-timed generator swap. Seth is cut off from his team.

When the lights come back on, the TOC’s radios are still down. Seth quickly orders Jeff outside with a field radio to try and reestablish communication with the teams in the air. Finally, Jeff and the pilots connect through the static: Duane is loading the helicopters to maximum capacity. In the cramped quarters, the PJs concentrate on keeping the wounded stable. The teams rush to the Role 3 hospital, and hand over the civilian patients to the trauma surgeons.

After shift change, Matt and the p.m. team are called to save a young boy with a gunshot wound to his head. The PJs scramble to launch, but a mission update brings disturbing news: their patient is unresponsive and intubated, meaning he might not be able to breathe on his own. The PJs fly to the FOB Frontenac, the same base from which Duane’s team rescued American soldiers earlier in the summer. While Matt’s team loads their small patient onboard, Seth and the TOC officers fight to get the boy admitted to the Role 3 hospital, which offers the best care and technology, but usually only admits NATO personnel. Ten minutes before the golden hour runs out, Seth gets the approval he needs. Yet, despite being rushed to surgery and having a strong pulse, the boy’s prognosis is still uncertain.

Shortly after shift change, the alarm sounds for a shocking mission: a U.S. serviceman was horrifically damaged by an IED. He’s lost three limbs. With such severe wounds, massive blood loss is the greatest concern. The PJs take to the air, receiving a MIST update that their patient’s condition is deteriorating; the soldier is now unconscious. The PJs rush to the point of injury, fearing the worst.

Days later and far away from the action, a C-17 airplane touches down at Moody Air Force Base in front of a crowd of wives, girlfriends, parents, and children. Soon-to-be father Matt sees his wife and kisses her belly. Duane hugs both of his sons. After four months at war, the 38th Rescue Squadron has returned home.

Don’t miss the final episode of Inside Combat Rescue, Coming Home, tonight at 10P.


  1. linda S.
    burbank, california
    March 26, 2013, 6:04 pm

    I only saw this wonderful show for the first time last night. Wow, I love it. Being an EMT, I love these kind of TV shows and feel there should be more of them. These Combat Rescue guys are awesome, being in EMS I could certainly relate to what they have to go through. Please NGTV, do more episodes with these guys. Great program!

  2. Chub
    March 26, 2013, 6:09 pm

    Love the program and the humanity it shares with those of us on the :outside”. But, what does PJ stand for?

  3. Astrid
    March 27, 2013, 6:01 pm

    PJ stands for Pararescue Jumper.

  4. Trinity
    March 29, 2013, 8:01 pm

    This reminds me of my cousin

  5. Warren Kline
    Panama City, Fl
    March 31, 2013, 1:40 pm

    As a retired member of the Rescue and Survival community I was disappointed that the series depicted the rescues as glorified MedEvacs. Where were the PJ’s who are embeded with the other SpecOps personnel (SEALS, Rangers and Special Forces). Where were the TRUE combat rescues. In Nam the area was softened up but there were times the PJ’s were inserted on the ground for a pick up with guns blazing. Pick-ups are not always made after the area has been cleared and the wounded already preped but nthis was the feeling from watching your show.

  6. moody
    United States
    April 3, 2013, 5:50 pm

    Love this show. Does anyone know why they direct people/stretchers to load into the helicopter in an L formation? Just curious.

  7. OTR
    September 12, 2013, 6:44 am

    Fantastic series, although even I as a civillian know not all rescues were televised given Military classification. So not sure what Warren Kline is talking about. And there was one episode where a pick up was made where HLZ was not cleared and a couple of instances where wounded were not prepped, sure they were bandaged, but not stabalised.

    Anyway, fantastic series Nat Geo.

    And many respects to the fallen soldier at the end of this episode who did not make it home.

  8. Ror
    United States
    December 18, 2014, 2:49 pm

    As a former Marine, I can’t tell you how much I just LOVE this program!! This is just about as real as you can get. I would like to see an epilogue to meet and see what the cameramen had to endure shooting this serious. I salute each and every one of you for bringing these stories to the public. Semper Fi.

  9. Brandon
    January 8, 2015, 5:14 pm

    Are the men in the episodes Combat Rescue Officers?

  10. Julie Palu
    March 3, 2015, 9:55 am

    This show is as real as it gets! The next one in line is The Hornets Nest. My son was there in Kandahar in 2011. He was a Gunnery Specialist with the 101st AirBorne Battalion No Slack Patrol. He was greatly honored with 3 Purple Hearts! My son came home alive and well! Watching this show makes people aware of what it was really like. We love and honor all soldiers who went there to fight for our country. All are congradulated. There was no task too small not to recieve any honorable mention when it comes to telling the real happenings of this war. I hope we never have to put our soldiers in the eyes of Mortal a Combat again! Praise them all! And Thank You!