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News | April 15, 2010

SEREs help Airmen refresh survival skills

By Airman 1st Class Christopher Gross 3rd Wing Public Affairs

There are only approximately 400 Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape specialist in the Air Force, and two of them reside here.

Tech. Sgt. Drew Timms and Staff Sgt. Reid Beveridge are SERE specialists and belong to Elmendorf's 3rd Operations Support Squadron's Weapons and Tactics Flight.

They are responsible for ensuring that all pilots and aircrew receive their required training for combat survival, water survival, emergency parachuting and conduct after capture.

Sergeant Timms said that this training is important to keep everyone current on the updates and changes in tactics.

Members from the 962nd Airborne Air Control Squadron received their refresher course in combat survival April 12 and learned about some new tactics that had been initiated since the last time they attended the training.

This particular survival course is required every three years for Airmen assigned to the 962nd AACS. When these specific Airmen initially went through this course, it was 17 days long. They spent a week in the woods learning different survival and evasion techniques.

When they attend the refresher course, training consists of a day in the classroom and in the woods and another day of water survival training which is also required every three years.

During the morning hours the crew was instructed on how to survive and evade if they were to become isolated in a combat situation. They were also briefed on pre-deployment preparations and preparation for a long-term evasion.

Later on that morning they learned the basics of personnel recovery and emergency planning. The refresher class also covered the basics in land navigation using a map and compass. That afternoon the crew went on to take what they had been taught in the classroom and applied it out in the wilderness. They had to find their way around using their map and compass and practiced concealing themselves in the surrounding environment, they also worked on starting fires from scratch.

Those who participated in the April 12 training said they felt it was important and helpful to review.

"It's absolutely important training, the survivor is always going to be the weakest link in the rescue sheen," said Capt. Benjamin Webber, 962nd AACS. "It's important to be familiar with the technology. This isn't stuff we primarily deal with."

The training Sergeant Timms provides could be the difference between being rescued and captured. Sergeant Timms has been doing his job for 11 years now and he said it never gets old and he loves what he does.

"You don't get bored doing the same thing day in and day out," said Sergeant Timms. "I think that's why a lot of people in the career field stay in it."