The Joint Personnel Recovery Agency leads Joint Force missions through Fairchild’s Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape program

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Clare Werner
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing

The Joint Personnel Recovery Agency leads Department of Defense and interagency personnel recovery operations by providing the Joint Force with strategic direction and oversight, operational support, capability development, training and education to improve personnel recovery readiness and execution.

In short, the JPRA is the joint integrator for personnel recovery operations across the DoD, other government agencies and multinational partners, enabling readiness and effective response capability for contingency situations.

The Personnel Recovery Academy, located in Spokane, Washington, is a key component of the JPRA. The academy offers specialized training to high-risk DoD service members, civilians and interagency personnel.

“Specialized Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape training is a unique feature of the Joint Staff,” explained Lt. Col. Matthew Arnold, commandant of the Personnel Recovery Academy. “[It] provides the Joint Force with expertise and skills in personnel recovery not found in service, United States Special Operations Command, or combatant command programs.”

Senior Master Sgt. Scott Price, senior enlisted leader of the Personnel Recovery Academy, said the JPRA has a long-standing relationship with the 336th Training Group at Fairchild Air Force Base. He highlighted various collaboration efforts including subject matter expert exchanges, joint modernization efforts and the JPRA providing custom-tailored courses to the SERE community.

“Our chain of command may be different, but we co-exist in a community dedicated to ensuring we leave no one behind so that they may return with honor,” Price said.

He also noted that the JPRA assists, advises and sometimes accompanies joint, DoD and interagency entities in supporting the recovery and reintegration of United States and allied personnel who find themselves behind enemy lines.

“Because of this, the unit is at the forefront of technology and tactics advancement and strives to stay one step ahead of the adversary, especially with the looming future fight,” Price explained.

Since the JPRA involves joint forces, its workforce comprises members with diverse backgrounds, including a joint enlisted core from each military service.

“The unit capitalizes on this wide swath of subject matter expertise, specifically hired and recruited for the unit to meet DoD and interagency personnel requirements,” Price said.

According to Arnold, the JPRA is proud to advocate for the “warfighter on the ground” and ensure that high risk personnel, routinely operating within harm’s way, are prepared for the worst-case scenarios.

“Properly prepared warfighters enable our leaders to employ a force of conventional and unconventional capability, mitigating risk to mission and force through successful operations during contingency events, ultimately leading to strategic success,” said Arnold.

Arnold added that the JPRA will continue to maintain a mutually beneficial relationship with the 92nd Air Refueling Wing to advance the agency’s and the installation’s individual missions.

“Some would think that it is unusual for a Joint Staff entity to get such phenomenal support from an air refueling wing,” Arnold said. "It speaks volumes to the joint warfighting mindset that the entire DoD is driving toward and the wing has embraced - from the top leadership to the lowest echelons.”