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SERE Airmen prepare others for foreign environments, personnel recovery

A man looks a group and points to the left of the image.

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jonathon Peavy, 34th Combat Training Squadron Detachment 1 Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape specialist, teaches how to properly use a map and compass at England Air Park, Louisiana, Feb. 12, 2019. The training was for personnel recovery scenarios. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Rhett Isbell)

A group of people stand in a semi-circle around a man.

U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 921st Contingency Response Squadron receive feedback on their training program led by Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape specialists at England Air Park, Louisiana, Feb. 12, 2019. Airmen learned about foreign customs, personnel recovery, and land navigation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Rhett Isbell)

A man holds a compass over a map.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Joe Oradei, 34th Combat Training Squadron Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape specialist, demonstrates the proper use of a compass and map at England Air Park, Louisiana, Feb. 12, 2019. Oradei instructed 921st Contingency Response Squadron Airmen on Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape techniques. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Rhett Isbell)

A group of people walk towards a doorway.

U.S. Air Force 921st Contingency Response Squadron Airmen, from Travis Air Force Base, California, and the 34th Combat Training Squadron Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape Detachment 1, from Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, enter a hangar for SERE related training at England Air Park, Louisiana, Feb. 12, 2019. Airmen learned about foreign customs, personnel recovery, and land navigation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Rhett Isbell)

Four people crouch and look through backpacks.

U.S. Air Force 921st Contingency Response Squadron Airmen review the items in their bags before participating in foreign customs training at England Air Park, Louisiana, Feb. 12, 2019. Airmen learned of common differences in cultures that may slow them down in their deployed missions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Rhett Isbell)

Two men look towards the left side of the image.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Christian Allen, 921st Contingency Response Squadron aerial porter, and U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Blare Burkholder, 921st CRS aerial porter, receive feedback from a Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape specialist from the 34th Combat Training Squadron at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, after participating in foreign customs training at England Air Park, Louisiana, Feb. 12, 2019. Airmen from the 921st CRS learned to expeditiously go through customs with as few misunderstandings as possible. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Rhett Isbell

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. --

Operating in some of the most austere conditions available, U.S. Air Force Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape specialists from Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, train their fellow Airmen to function to the best of their ability in remote or hostile environments.

SERE specialists from the 34th Combat Training Squadron Detachment 1 trained members of the 921st Contingency Response Squadron, from Travis AFB, California, to augment their capabilities of advising, directing and projecting air power along with their characteristic duties of joint force readiness training during exercise Green Flag Little Rock 19-01.

GFLR allows for a chance to experience realistic combat scenarios and learn how to integrate with other units, services and partner nations. The 921st CRS used this exercise to partner with U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Zach Yoakam, 34th CTS SERE Detachment 1 flight chief, and his team for a one-day training program on common customs hurdles, personnel recovery, and land navigation techniques.

“The 921st CRS commander identified a need for training from me and my team on tactics designed to help them be more efficient while deployed,” Yoakam said. “We tailored it to support their missions downrange.”

Being able to learn from SERE Airmen was a welcomed opportunity for members of the 921st CRS because it is how Airmen learn how to best live up to the U.S. military code of conduct in uncertain or hostile environments. This type of instruction is especially useful for GFLR participants due to their increased likelihood of being in deployed locations.

“I think it’s a good learning opportunity because we go into austere environments in smaller teams,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Benjamin Guyton, 921st CRS mobile C2 controller. “It’s really good for them just to have training on operational security and if they get into trouble, it’s another tool for them to utilize.”

The training activities involved Airmen who had participated in the full SERE course, as well as Airmen who had only experienced SERE topics during basic military training. This mix of skill levels, combined with a non-traditional classroom setting, encouraged an open dialogue and many of the younger, less-trained Airmen to more actively participate than in average lesson plans.

“The Airmen gained newfound confidence in basic personnel recovery concepts and land navigation,” Yoakam said. “In the world of personnel recovery they had less training than I was used to, but they acted in a way outside of their normal capacity of the training they had received, and they were fantastic. I was absolutely impressed.”

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