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U.S. Air Force Survival School

Airman 1st Class Casey Blackmon explains to Trevion Worthy how he and those like him train pilots how to be rescued by a helicopter at the survival school along his journey as ‘Airman for a Day’ at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., Nov. 2, 2012. Blackmon is a 22nd Training Squadron survival, evasion, resistance and escape specialist. Tre was the second youth to participate in the program at Fairchild that gives children a break from challenges they face on a day-to-day basis. Tre has been fighting Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and undergone almost two years of chemo therapy. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Benjamin Stratton)

336th TRG

The 336th Training Group, located at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, is home to the U.S. Air Force's Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) school. The 336th TRG consists of three squadrons with geographically separated detachments at Lackland AFB, Texas, and Eielson AFB, Alaska. The Survival School teaches19 different courses to approximately 20,000 students at the three 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 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 450 miles of roads in the 550,000-acre Colville National Forest while also ensuring the operability of 24 facilities.

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 48 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 22nd TRS also conducts ejection and non-ejection water survival courses, which train aircrew members of all different 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.

 

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.  In addition, the 66th TRS also instructs all advanced SERE Specialist training to include those skills related to operational and combat support tasks.

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 3, 66th Training Squadron at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, teaches the Air Force's only Evasion and Conduct After Capture (ECAC) course. The 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 and Procedures (TTP); and an evasion laboratory (EL) that provides hands-on practice using evasion TTP.

The 36th Rescue Squadron which is part of the 58 SOW 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 RQS is on 24-hour standby, six days a week, 48 weeks a year to provide medical evacuation coverage for students and instructors. The 36th RQS 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. Since 2001, the 36th RQS has responded to over 200 requests for assistance and saved 134 lives. On average, the unit responds to five to 10 calls for assistance each year and is credited with saving 692 lives since its inception in 1971. In doing so, the 36th RQS is proud to uphold the motto of rescue personnel worldwide: "That Others May Live."

"Return With Honor," the motto of the Survival School, is symbolic of the school's dedication to providing lifesaving training.