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SERE training: surviving the unknown

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Mariette Adams
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
The crackling of leaves disrupted the typical marshy ambience of the wetlands found on MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, as aircrew navigated away from a simulated KC-135 Stratotanker crash. They remain low and quiet with only the sound of the leaves to break the silence.

On April 27 and 29, 2016, aircrew members completed their triennial refresher training in the monthly Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape combat and water survival course at MacDill AFB.

Starting off with combat survival training, the Airmen refined their urban evasion skills as well as focused on health and personal protection.

"You cannot evade the enemy, you cannot resist the enemy and you cannot escape the enemy unless you can survive and maintain 98.6 degrees," explained Tech. Sgt. Nicklaus Braun, the SERE program manager for the 6th Air Mobility Wing. "If you can't take care of yourself in whatever environment you're at, the rest is irrelevant."

The Airmen were then put to the test as they participated in a five-phase evasion scenario. They were tasked with avoiding live aggressors while making it to a contact recovery point using radio signals and directional skills.
Once the Airmen completed thescenario, they refreshed and practiced their hand-to-hand combat skills necessary for self-defense.

"The refresher training is extremely important because the tactics, techniques and procedures of our enemy constantly change; therefore, we need to adapt our skills to ensure we get our aircrew members or high risk isolation members home," said Braun.

Following the combat survival training course, some Airmen continued on to complete a water survival training. The two-part training included a classroom portion and life-like exercise, where they were tasked to swim and set up shelter in a raft found on-board the aircraft.

"It's good for us to know not only how to save ourselves but how to save others because you never know what situation you'll end up in," said Raphael Duncan, a 91st Air Refueling Squadron boom operator who is taking the refresher courses. "Our aircraft is capable of carrying passengers outside our crew, so it is nice to know how to help them survive in any situation."