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Survival and evasion
Tech. Sgt. Robert Graham, 375th Operations Support Squadron S.E.R.E specialist, gives a safety briefing during Combat Survival Training at the Illinois Army National Guard’s Sparta Training Area, Sparta, Ill. on March 22, 2011. Combat Survival Training is held once a month for active aircrews and aeromedical personnel where they put their evasion skills to work. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Teresa M. Jennings)
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Survival training: Airmen practice survival, evasion, resistance and escape techniques

Posted 3/30/2011   Updated 3/30/2011 Email story   Print story


by Staff Sgt. Teresa M. Jennings
375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

3/30/2011 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill.  -- Teaching the proper use of survival instinct is the job of Tech. Sgt. Robert Graham, Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape, or SERE, instructor with the 375th Operations Support Squadron, who recently taught survivor tactics to Airmen whose jobs create a high risk of capture for them.

"The SERE specialists train aircrews to survive in any operating environment and resist enemy captivity situations including exploitation attempts," he said. "Additionally, we keep potential isolated personnel current on personnel recovery tactics, techniques, and procedures, and manage documents and items crucial in the successful recovery of personnel."

Airmen who are most commonly considered high risk are required to go through a SERE and water survival refresher course every three years. Sergeant Graham and his section hosts these training courses once a month for the active aircrews at Scott.

The combat skills course, the main class of the SERE refresher course, puts the aircrew's survival and evasion skills to the test.

"SERE specialists at Scott bring the crews to the Illinois Army National Guard's Sparta Training Area," said Sergeant Graham. "They will then have to navigate their way from the 'crash point' to the extraction point."

Along the way the crews use their evasion skills to avoid enemy forces out patrolling the area.

"They will be in radio contact with the rescue team the whole time as they try to evade the enemy and reach their rally point," said the sergeant.

Once they reach the extraction point they will be authenticated by the rescue team leader. This is where a person's Isolated Personnel Report is put to use.

"The rescue team leader will verify the aircrew's identity by checking their ID card," he said. "He will then double check their identity."

At the end of the day the only thing they really need to survive is confidence, said Sergeant Graham.

"I want all aircrew members who attend my training to leave with confidence in their abilities to evade enemy capture, confidence they will survive anywhere they are called to deploy, and confidence in their skills to resist enemy exploitation attempts."

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