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NEWS | Oct. 13, 2017

Local training keeps survival skills sharp

By Staff Sgt. William A. O’Brien Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

When Airmen enter career fields that have a higher risk of facing capture or isolation they are given survival, evasion, resistance and escape training. Local SERE specialists provide SERE Block Training, a refresher training each month for those in the region who require the triennial training.


“The training we give them is refresher training,” said Senior Airman Jerid Bauscher, 437th Operations squadron SERE specialist. “They learn all the skills they will need during their initial training. However, when they’re in a high risk situation, it’s going to be stressful and hard to think. The goal is to re-enforce the training and help them to develop the muscle memory so when they absolutely need these skills it’s second nature for them."


The water survival portion of the training is held at Short Stay Recreational Park. Short Stay is one of four geographically separated locations that make up Joint Base Charleston.


“We truly appreciate how accommodating the folks here at Short Stay have been,” said Tech. Sgt. Alan Morse, 437th OSS SERE NCO in charge. “They allow us to do our training here and help us in every way they can. If we need any equipment or support, they help us.”


The weeklong refresher training is hosted monthly by the 437th OSS SERE specialists here. Each year 437th OSS SERE specialists conduct Water Survival Training for 200 to 250 members deemed as high risk of isolation risks from Charleston and the surrounding region.


“During Water Survival Training, we teach them how to get out from under their parachute while in water, how to get into their life raft and how to get water and food,” said Bauscher.  “We go over what’s edible and what isn’t. We also teach them how to use the survival fishing lines in the life raft."


Each day students enrolled in SERE Block Training review basic SERE skills. The first day is water training, where the students learn what to do if they ever land on a body of water or if they have to parachute from an aircraft over a large body of water. The next day, a Theater-Specific High Risk of Isolation briefing is conducted. This outlines possible scenarios of what could happen if they are forced to evade or are captured based on the theater of operations the member will be going to. Local Area Survival Training is next and provides the students with a better understanding of actions to take should they experence an emergency while flying locally. They are also taught about hazards in the local area such as poisonous plants and animals. Following this they are given Emergency Parachute Training that teaches them actions needed to take during a parachute emergency egress. Finally, SERE Specialists conduct Combat Survival Training at the Naval Weapons Station where students perform evasion techniques while in a simulated, hostile environment.


“The training today was a good refresher,” said Capt. Jonathan Lewczyk, 16th Airlift Squadron instructor pilot. "I haven’t practiced these skills in a few years and this was a good run-through them in case I’m ever in a situation where I need to use these skills."