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Combat Survival Training sets up Airmen for Success

Members of the 133rd Airlift Wing get familiar with the Black Hawk helicopter prior to combat and water survival training at St. Paul, Minn., Jun. 18, 2013. 
 (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Austen Adriaens/Released)

Members of the 133rd Airlift Wing get familiar with the Black Hawk helicopter prior to combat and water survival training at St. Paul, Minn., Jun. 18, 2013. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Austen Adriaens/Released)

A member of the 133rd Airlift Wing tests out a rescue basket used on a Black Hawk helicopter at St. Paul, Minn., Jun. 18, 2013. 
(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Austen Adriaens/Released)

A member of the 133rd Airlift Wing tests out a rescue basket used on a Black Hawk helicopter at St. Paul, Minn., Jun. 18, 2013. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Austen Adriaens/Released)

Airmen from the 133rd Airlift Wing participated in an after action review of combat and water survival training with Soldiers from the Minnesota Army National Guard in Arden Hills, Minn., Jun. 18, 2013. 
(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Austen Adriaens/Released)

Airmen from the 133rd Airlift Wing participated in an after action review of combat and water survival training with Soldiers from the Minnesota Army National Guard in Arden Hills, Minn., Jun. 18, 2013. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Austen Adriaens/Released)

Airmen from the 133rd Airlift Wing participate in a combat and water survival training in Arden Hills, Minn., Jun. 18, 2013. 
(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Austen Adriaens/Released)

Airmen from the 133rd Airlift Wing participate in a combat and water survival training in Arden Hills, Minn., Jun. 18, 2013. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Austen Adriaens/Released)

An Airman of the 133rd Security Forces Squadron plays the role of an enemy captor in Arden Hills, Minn., Jun. 18, 2013. The Airman provides a sense of realism to the members of the 109th Airlift Squadron and 109th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron that are going through combat and water survival training. 
(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Austen Adriaens/Released)

An Airman of the 133rd Security Forces Squadron plays the role of an enemy captor in Arden Hills, Minn., Jun. 18, 2013. The Airman provides a sense of realism to the members of the 109th Airlift Squadron and 109th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron that are going through combat and water survival training. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Austen Adriaens/Released)

An Airman from the 133rd Security Forces Squadron storms the bus in Arden Hills, Minn., Jun. 18, 2013. The Airman provides a sense of realism to the members of the 109th Airlift Squadron and 109th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron that are going through combat and water survival training. 
(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Austen Adriaens/Released)

An Airman from the 133rd Security Forces Squadron storms the bus in Arden Hills, Minn., Jun. 18, 2013. The Airman provides a sense of realism to the members of the 109th Airlift Squadron and 109th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron that are going through combat and water survival training. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Austen Adriaens/Released)

An Airman from the 133rd Airlift Wing ignites a smoke flair used to signal the Black Hawk helicopter for combat and water survival training in Arden Hills, Minn., Jun. 18, 2013. 
(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Austen Adriaens/Released)

An Airman from the 133rd Airlift Wing ignites a smoke flair used to signal the Black Hawk helicopter for combat and water survival training in Arden Hills, Minn., Jun. 18, 2013. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Austen Adriaens/Released)

Airmen from the 133rd Airlift Wing participate in a combat and water survival training exercise in Arden Hills, Minn., Jun. 18, 2013. 
(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Austen Adriaens/Released)

Airmen from the 133rd Airlift Wing participate in a combat and water survival training exercise in Arden Hills, Minn., Jun. 18, 2013. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Austen Adriaens/Released)

Two Black Hawk helicopters from the Minnesota Army National Guard make their final departure in Arden Hills, Minn., Jun. 18, 2013. 
(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Austen Adriaens/Released)

Two Black Hawk helicopters from the Minnesota Army National Guard make their final departure in Arden Hills, Minn., Jun. 18, 2013. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Austen Adriaens/Released)

An Airman of the 133rd Security Forces Squadron, right, plays the role of an enemy captor at Arden Hills, Minn., Jun. 18, 2013. The Airman provides a sense of realism to the members of the 109th Airlift Squadron and 109th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron that are going through combat and water survival training. 
 (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Austen Adriaens/Released)
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An Airman of the 133rd Security Forces Squadron, right, plays the role of an enemy captor at Arden Hills, Minn., Jun. 18, 2013. The Airman provides a sense of realism to the members of the 109th Airlift Squadron and 109th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron that are going through combat and water survival training. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Austen Adriaens/Released)

Soldiers of the Minnesota Army National Guard assist in the 133rd Airlift Wing’s combat and water survival training in Arden Hills, Minn., Jun. 18, 2013. Following their escape from their captors, Airmen exit the Black Hawk helicopter running towards the safety of their home base. 
(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Kari Giles/Released)
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Soldiers of the Minnesota Army National Guard assist in the 133rd Airlift Wing’s combat and water survival training in Arden Hills, Minn., Jun. 18, 2013. Following their escape from their captors, Airmen exit the Black Hawk helicopter running towards the safety of their home base. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Kari Giles/Released)

Airmen from the 133rd Security Forces Squadron, plays the role of an enemy captor in Arden Hills, Minn., Jun. 18, 2013. The Airmen are providing a sense of realism to the members of the 109th Airlift Squadron and 109th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron that are going through combat and water survival training. 
 (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Kari Giles/Released)
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Airmen from the 133rd Security Forces Squadron, plays the role of an enemy captor in Arden Hills, Minn., Jun. 18, 2013. The Airmen are providing a sense of realism to the members of the 109th Airlift Squadron and 109th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron that are going through combat and water survival training. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Kari Giles/Released)

An Airman of the 133rd Security Forces Squadron, right, plays the role of an enemy captor in Arden Hills, Minn., Jun. 18, 2013. The Airman provides a sense of realism to the members of the 109th Airlift Squadron and 109th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron that are going through combat and water survival training. 
(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Kari Giles/Released)
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An Airman of the 133rd Security Forces Squadron, right, plays the role of an enemy captor in Arden Hills, Minn., Jun. 18, 2013. The Airman provides a sense of realism to the members of the 109th Airlift Squadron and 109th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron that are going through combat and water survival training. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Kari Giles/Released)

Arden Hills, Minn.- -- More than 45 Airmen from the 133rd Airlift Wing, 109th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron and the 109th Airlift Squadron took part in combat and water survival training at the Arden Hills Army Training Site (AHATS), here June 16-19, 2013.

This year's three day training consisted of classroom instruction, but a large amount of it was hands-on intense field training. The classroom portion was led by a SERE instructor who educated the Airmen on various aspects which included GPS, compass, map reading skills, safety flare operation, as well as instruction and use of survival radios. They even received an intelligence briefing.

"Our goal was to provide a scenario that was realistic to the troops containing things that could and may occur overseas," said Major Erik Snedker, an Intelligence Officer for the 133rd Airlift Wing. "By bringing in the intelligence factor we can bring them a type of training that helps them gain more from it."

Day one and three consisted of water survival training for the Airmen, in which they donned their life preservers to enter the water and swim towards a life raft. They boarded the rafts and were instructed on proper use and deployment of smoke and signal flares as well as instruction on how to escape from beneath a parachute.

The training on day two consisted of an intense land survival scenario in which members of the 133rd Security Forces Squadron played the role of enemy captors. They hijacked the incoming convoy containing the Airmen. Once captured, they were brought to holding cells where they were secured and left to try to escape towards safety. The captured Airmen had to work together as a team to free themselves and evade the captors. Once their escape was achieved they faced another challenge, in which they had to utilize their navigation skills to arrive at their check points.

"An exciting and key portion to this year's training was the integration of the Army Blackhawk helicopters and making this a joint mission," said Snedker. "Not only was this excellent training for us but it allowed the Army to get in the training they needed as well."
Members of the Red Bulls, from the Army National Guard out of St. Paul played a huge roll in this year's exercise. These soldiers assisted with the final portion of the land survival training by picking up the Airmen from their check points and bringing them back to the safety of their base camp. They also demonstrated proper use of the aerial rescue equipment within the Blackhawk.

"At the end of the day we are all on one team, whether it's Air Force or Army," said Senior Master Sgt. Aaron Siek, the NCO in charge of the exercise. "We are all deployed together and the more face to face time we have here, integrating these joint training exercises, the better off we will be in the future."