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SERE training aides aircrew in real-world scenarios

U.S. Army personnel rescue Royal Canadian Air Force crew members from the 436 Transport Squadron as part of survival, evasion, resistance and escape training conducted during Green Flag Little Rock 17-04 Feb. 10, 2017, near Alexandria, La. During the exercise, aircrew members were selected randomly to participate in SERE training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stephanie Serrano)

U.S. Army personnel rescue Royal Canadian Air Force crew members from the 436 Transport Squadron as part of survival, evasion, resistance and escape training conducted during Green Flag Little Rock 17-04 Feb. 10, 2017, near Alexandria, La. During the exercise, aircrew members were selected randomly to participate in SERE training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stephanie Serrano)

The Royal Canadian Air Force 436 Transport Squadron participate in survival, evasion, resistance and escape training Feb. 10, 2017, near Alexandria, La. Aircrew members must be able to survive on their own in any environment under any condition in the event their aircraft goes down. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stephanie Serrano)

The Royal Canadian Air Force 436 Transport Squadron participate in survival, evasion, resistance and escape training Feb. 10, 2017, near Alexandria, La. Aircrew members must be able to survive on their own in any environment under any condition in the event their aircraft goes down. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stephanie Serrano)

U.S. Army personnel in a UH-60 Blackhawk circle around before landing to pick up crew members from the Royal Canadian Air Force Feb. 10, 2017, near Alexandria, La. The RCAF spent approximately two hours participating in survival, evasion, resistance and escape training as part of training during Green Flag Little Rock 17-04. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stephanie Serrano)

U.S. Army personnel in a UH-60 Blackhawk circle around before landing to pick up crew members from the Royal Canadian Air Force Feb. 10, 2017, near Alexandria, La. The RCAF spent approximately two hours participating in survival, evasion, resistance and escape training as part of training during Green Flag Little Rock 17-04. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stephanie Serrano)

Royal Canadian Air Force crew members from the 436 Transport Squadron participate in survival, evasion, resistance and escape training during Green Flag Little Rock 17-04 Feb. 10, 2017, near Alexandria, La. Approximately 70 personnel from the RCAF participated in Green Flag Little Rock 17-04. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stephanie Serrano)

Royal Canadian Air Force crew members from the 436 Transport Squadron participate in survival, evasion, resistance and escape training during Green Flag Little Rock 17-04 Feb. 10, 2017, near Alexandria, La. Approximately 70 personnel from the RCAF participated in Green Flag Little Rock 17-04. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stephanie Serrano)

Royal Canadian Air Force Cpl. Teddy Lapkin, 436 Transport Squadron technical crewman, attempts to contact a C-130J during survival, evasion, resistance and escape training Feb. 10, 2017, near Alexandria, La. SERE training is conducted to aid aircrew in survival techniques such as building shelter, land navigation and procuring water to evade the enemy until they can be rescued. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stephanie Serrano)

Royal Canadian Air Force Cpl. Teddy Lapkin, 436 Transport Squadron technical crewman, attempts to contact a C-130J during survival, evasion, resistance and escape training Feb. 10, 2017, near Alexandria, La. SERE training is conducted to aid aircrew in survival techniques such as building shelter, land navigation and procuring water to evade the enemy until they can be rescued. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stephanie Serrano)

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. --

The 34th Combat Training Squadron conducted survival, evasion, resistance and escape training during Green Flag Little Rock 17-04, Feb. 9-19, 2017.  SERE training provides aircrew members the crucial ability to survive on their own in any environment, under any condition, in the event their aircraft goes down.

Various units from Air Mobility Command, the U.S. Army and Royal Canadian Air Force performed training scenarios throughout the week at Little Rock AFB, Ark. and Alexandria Intermediate Staging Base, Louisiana during this iteration of GFLR 17-04.

The scenario required aircrew to land at the airfield, prepare to load cargo and perform routine airdrops. They were quickly surprised when SERE specialists pulled up alongside the aircraft informing them to swiftly gather their bags.

Similar to real-world situations, when an aircraft goes down the aircrew have no idea it’s coming. 

“We took a group of pilots, expecting to do airdrops, and took them off their schedule and deep into the woods,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jonathan Peavy, 34th CTS Detachment 1 SERE specialist. “We put their previous training and skills to the test and evaluated them.”

Each aircrew team participating had no idea how long they would be practicing survival skills in the woods.

“I definitely dusted off some old skills that I hadn’t used in a while,” said U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Holden Simmonds, 40th Airlift Squadron standardizations and evaluations liaison officer. “It was good to be put in a situation that tested our knowledge and trained us to successfully protect ourselves and the rest of our crew.”

SERE specialists incorporate the aircrew’s airdrops or bundle drops as well as unique rescue techniques such as being extracted by a helicopter into the recovery and rescue portion of the training.

“These type of circumstances allows the aircrew to see different things in an environment that they weren’t expecting to happen,” said Peavy. “It also shows them how effective or ineffective that their operations in the air are.”

By putting aircrew on the ground, it allows them to better understand just how precise their airdrops and bundle drops need to be for the receiving personnel.

 “It’s not the most fun running through the woods getting cut up on all the bushes,” said Simmonds. “It pushes you and makes you more mentally tough to get through it and come out on the other side. I think it’s good for anybody that goes through it.”

The training scenarios conducted during GFLR 17-04 are potential challenges aircrew personnel may face in the future. These lessons can aid in one day saving the lives of everyone on board.

 

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