Students attending the Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape school listen to their instructors about parachute landing safety at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, June 27, 2014. The 22nd Training Squadron parachute training tests, evaluates, demonstrates and instructs emergency egress parachute systems for Air Force aircrew career fields. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandre Montes/Released)
The 336th Training Group, located at Fairchild Air Force Base, is home to the U.S. Air Force's Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) school. The 336th TRG consists of three squadrons and one flight, with geographically separated detachments at Lackland AFB, Texas, Pensacola NAS, Florida, and Eielson AFB, Alaska. The Survival School teaches 15 different courses to approximately 18,000 students at the four locations annually. Their mission statement: To provide at risk of isolation personnel with the skills and confidence to 'Return with Honor.'
The 336th Training Support Squadron provides superior resources and support services to the SERE mission by way of medical and psychological care, vehicle maintenance and repair, syllabus and courseware development and enhancement, roads and facilities operations and maintenance and administrative services. The 336th TRSS integrates Airmen from 23 different AFSCs to provide this vital role for the SERE school. They single-handedly ensure network capabilities, parachute rigging and medical support for search and rescue (SAR) missions. Additionally, they maintain more than 350 miles of roads in the 550,000-acre Colville National Forest while also ensuring the operability of 30 facilities.
The 36th Rescue Flight supports the 336th Training Group in the execution of all AETC syllabi and provides evacuation of injured DOD personnel from remote training areas. Support operations include live rescue hoist training, para-drop demonstrations and combat rescue procedures training. The 36th RQF is on 24-hour standby six days a week, 49 weeks a year to provide medical evacuation coverage for students and instructors. The 36th RQF also supports the National Search-and-Rescue (SAR) Plan by conducting SAR and medical evacuation missions in the Pacific Northwest, covering a four-state region. On average, the unit responds to 15 to 20 calls for assistance each year and is credited with saving 687 lives since its inception in 1971. In doing so, the 36th RQF is proud to uphold the motto of rescue personnel worldwide: "That Others May Live."
The 22nd Training Squadron is tasked with teaching those "at risk of isolation personnel." The basic course, which instructs all aspects of SERE, lasts 19 days and occurs 49 weeks out of each year. The majority of the course is taught at Fairchild AFB; however, six days are spent approximately 70 miles north of the base, in the mountains of the Colville and Kaniksu National Forests. This course consists of physical and psychological stresses of survival, hands-on training in post-ejection procedures and parachute landing falls, survival medicine and recovery device training and equipment procedures. In the field, students receive additional training which includes food procurement and preparation, day and night land navigation techniques, evasion travel and camouflage techniques, ground-to-air signals and aircraft vectoring procedures and shelter construction. Finally, students are returned to Fairchild and receive Code of Conduct Training in evasion and conduct after capture.
The 66th Training Squadron is the Air Force's sole source of training, developing and certifying new SERE specialists. The SERE Specialist Training course is a five-and-a-half month program designed to teach future survival instructors how to instruct aircrew members to survive in a broad variety of training environments. Future SERE specialists are trained while entrenched in each of those environments which include: temperate, desert, coastal, open-ocean, tropics, rough land (rocks), arctic and evasion. The 66th TRS also conducts a non-ejection water survival course, which trains aircrew members of non-parachute-equipped
aircraft. This training includes lessons such as techniques in signaling rescue aircraft, hazardous aquatic life, food and water procurement, medical aspects of water survival and life raft procedures.
Detachment 1, 66th Training Squadron at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, teaches Arctic Survival Training. This five-day course conducted from October through March is designed for aircrew personnel assigned to flying duties in the northern regions. Instruction concentrates on food and water procurement, thermal shelter construction, firecraft and various signaling techniques.
Detachment 2, 66th Training Squadron at NAS Pensacola, Florida, conducts a water survival course for those aircrew members going to parachute-equipped airframes. This course lasts four days and includes instruction in signaling rescue aircraft, hazardous aquatic life, food and water procurement, medical aspects of water survival and life raft procedures. Students parasail to simulate in-flight over water emergency and parachute decent.
Detachment 3, 66th Training Squadron at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, teaches the Air Force's only Evasion and Conduct After Capture (ECAC) course. The Evasion and Conduct After Capture (ECAC) course is a Level-B, four-day curriculum designed to prepare Air Force members to survive the rigors of isolation and return with honor. The course consists of full spectrum (wartime, peacetime and hostage) captivity training in academic classes and academic role-play laboratory (ARL) training environments and culminates with a hostage resistance training laboratory (RTL). ECAC also provides academic training on evasion; personnel recovery principles; Tactics, Techniques & Procedures (TTP); and an evasion laboratory (EL) that provides hands-on practice using evasion TTP.
"Return With Honor," the motto of the Survival School, is symbolic of the school's dedication to providing lifesaving training.