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Survival training prepares aviators

Members of the 133rd Airlift Wing are taking part in survival, evasion, resistance, and escape (SERE) training at the Army Training Site Arden Hills, Minnesota Sept. 16, 2012. Airmen of the 133rd Security Forces Squadron role playing the part of enemy captors storm a bus capturing members of the Wing during SERE training. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Erik Gudmundson/released

Members of the 133rd Airlift Wing are taking part in survival, evasion, resistance, and escape (SERE) training at the Army Training Site Arden Hills, Minnesota Sept. 16, 2012. Airmen of the 133rd Security Forces Squadron role playing the part of enemy captors storm a bus capturing members of the Wing during SERE training. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Erik Gudmundson/released

Members of the 133rd Airlift Wing are taking part in survival, evasion, resistance, and escape (SERE) training at the Army Training Site Arden Hills, Minnesota Sept. 16, 2012. An airman of the 133rd Security Forces Squadron role plays the part of enemy captor, as he guides the captured members of the Wing to their holding cells during SERE training. U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kari L. Giles/released

Members of the 133rd Airlift Wing are taking part in survival, evasion, resistance, and escape (SERE) training at the Army Training Site Arden Hills, Minnesota Sept. 16, 2012. An airman of the 133rd Security Forces Squadron role plays the part of enemy captor, as he guides the captured members of the Wing to their holding cells during SERE training. U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kari L. Giles/released

Members of the 133rd Airlift Wing are taking part in survival, evasion, resistance, and escape (SERE) training at the Army Training Site Arden Hills, Minnesota Sept. 16, 2012. The captured airmen are escaping from the holding cells, running towards the shelter of the woods.  U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kari L. Giles/released

Members of the 133rd Airlift Wing are taking part in survival, evasion, resistance, and escape (SERE) training at the Army Training Site Arden Hills, Minnesota Sept. 16, 2012. The captured airmen are escaping from the holding cells, running towards the shelter of the woods. U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kari L. Giles/released

Members of the 133rd Airlift Wing are taking part in survival, evasion, resistance, and escape (SERE) training at the Army Training Site Arden Hills, Minnesota Sept. 16, 2012. Airmen are herded into mock holding cells by members of the 133rd Security Forces Squadron role playing the part of enemy captors this training allows Airmen to practice their SERE skills learned outside the classroom. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Erik Gudmundson/released

Members of the 133rd Airlift Wing are taking part in survival, evasion, resistance, and escape (SERE) training at the Army Training Site Arden Hills, Minnesota Sept. 16, 2012. Airmen are herded into mock holding cells by members of the 133rd Security Forces Squadron role playing the part of enemy captors this training allows Airmen to practice their SERE skills learned outside the classroom. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Erik Gudmundson/released

Airman 1st Class Jonathan Roberts a 133rd Security Forces apprentice role plays the role of a captor guarding captured members of the 133rd Airlift Wing during survival, evasion, resistance, and escape (SERE) training Army Training Site Arden Hills, Minnesota Sept. 16, 2012. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Erik Gudmundson/released

Airman 1st Class Jonathan Roberts a 133rd Security Forces apprentice role plays the role of a captor guarding captured members of the 133rd Airlift Wing during survival, evasion, resistance, and escape (SERE) training Army Training Site Arden Hills, Minnesota Sept. 16, 2012. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Erik Gudmundson/released

A member of the 133rd Airlift Wing is taking part in water survival training at the Army Training Site Arden Hills, Minnesota Sept. 16, 2012. The airman is using an LPU-10P air crew life preserver to swim towards the safety of the life raft. U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kari L. Giles/released

A member of the 133rd Airlift Wing is taking part in water survival training at the Army Training Site Arden Hills, Minnesota Sept. 16, 2012. The airman is using an LPU-10P air crew life preserver to swim towards the safety of the life raft. U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kari L. Giles/released

133rd Airlift Wing members swim in the waters of small lake at the Army Training Site Arden Hills, Minnesota Sept. 16, 2012 with their aircrew life preserver keeping them afloat. The Airmen of the 133rd Airlift Wing, Minnesota Air National Guard are taking part in their annual survival including survival equipment, lift raft familiarization, parachute disentanglement and rescue techniques. U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Erik Gudmundson/released

133rd Airlift Wing members swim in the waters of small lake at the Army Training Site Arden Hills, Minnesota Sept. 16, 2012 with their aircrew life preserver keeping them afloat. The Airmen of the 133rd Airlift Wing, Minnesota Air National Guard are taking part in their annual survival including survival equipment, lift raft familiarization, parachute disentanglement and rescue techniques. U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Erik Gudmundson/released

Lt. Col. David Nelson swims in the waters of small lake at the Army Training Site Arden Hills, Minnesota Sept. 16, 2012 with a aircrew life preserver helping to keep him afloat. The Airmen of the 133rd Airlift Wing, Minnesota Air National Guard are taking part in their annual survival including survival equipment, lift raft familiarization, parachute disentanglement and rescue techniques. U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Erik Gudmundson/released

Lt. Col. David Nelson swims in the waters of small lake at the Army Training Site Arden Hills, Minnesota Sept. 16, 2012 with a aircrew life preserver helping to keep him afloat. The Airmen of the 133rd Airlift Wing, Minnesota Air National Guard are taking part in their annual survival including survival equipment, lift raft familiarization, parachute disentanglement and rescue techniques. U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Erik Gudmundson/released

Members of the 133rd Airlift Wing are taking part in water survival training at the Army Training Site Arden Hills, Minnesota Sept. 16, 2012. The airmen are learning how to properly discharge flares.  U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kari L. Giles/released

Members of the 133rd Airlift Wing are taking part in water survival training at the Army Training Site Arden Hills, Minnesota Sept. 16, 2012. The airmen are learning how to properly discharge flares. U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kari L. Giles/released

Airmen of the 133rd Airlift Wing are taking part in survival, evasion, resistance, and escape (SERE) training and water survival training including: lift raft familiarization, parachute disentanglement and rescue techniques.at the Army Training Site Arden Hills, Minnesota Sept. 16, 2012. Here a group of Airmen practice water survival while lighting both signal flares and smoke flares. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Erik Gudmundson/released
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Airmen of the 133rd Airlift Wing are taking part in survival, evasion, resistance, and escape (SERE) training and water survival training including: lift raft familiarization, parachute disentanglement and rescue techniques.at the Army Training Site Arden Hills, Minnesota Sept. 16, 2012. Here a group of Airmen practice water survival while lighting both signal flares and smoke flares. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Erik Gudmundson/released

Lt. Col. Andrew Burda Commander 109th Airlift Squadron holds a signal flare aloft during water survival training tat the Army Training Site Arden Hills, Minnesota Sept. 16, 2012.. The Airmen of the 133rd Airlift Wing, Minnesota Air National Guard are taking part in their annual survival including survival equipment, lift raft familiarization, parachute disentanglement and rescue techniques. 
U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Erik Gudmundson/released
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Lt. Col. Andrew Burda Commander 109th Airlift Squadron holds a signal flare aloft during water survival training tat the Army Training Site Arden Hills, Minnesota Sept. 16, 2012.. The Airmen of the 133rd Airlift Wing, Minnesota Air National Guard are taking part in their annual survival including survival equipment, lift raft familiarization, parachute disentanglement and rescue techniques. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Erik Gudmundson/released

Staff Sgt. Travis Shore 109th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron holds a signal flare from a raft during water survival training at the Army Training Site Arden Hills, Minnesota Sept. 16, 2012. . The Airmen of the 133rd Airlift Wing, Minnesota Air National Guard are taking part in their annual survival including survival equipment, lift raft familiarization, parachute disentanglement and rescue techniques. 
U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Erik Gudmundson/released
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Staff Sgt. Travis Shore 109th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron holds a signal flare from a raft during water survival training at the Army Training Site Arden Hills, Minnesota Sept. 16, 2012. . The Airmen of the 133rd Airlift Wing, Minnesota Air National Guard are taking part in their annual survival including survival equipment, lift raft familiarization, parachute disentanglement and rescue techniques. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Erik Gudmundson/released

Airmen of the 133rd Airlift Wing are taking part in survival, evasion, resistance, and escape (SERE) training and water survival training including: lift raft familiarization, parachute disentanglement and rescue techniques.at the Army Training Site Arden Hills, Minnesota Sept. 16, 2012. Here a group of Airmen finsh the day by pulling the survival raft ashore. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Erik Gudmundson/released
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Airmen of the 133rd Airlift Wing are taking part in survival, evasion, resistance, and escape (SERE) training and water survival training including: lift raft familiarization, parachute disentanglement and rescue techniques.at the Army Training Site Arden Hills, Minnesota Sept. 16, 2012. Here a group of Airmen finsh the day by pulling the survival raft ashore. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Erik Gudmundson/released

ARDEN HILLS, Minn. -- More than 35 Airmen from the 133rd Airlift Wing, including the 109th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron and the 109th Airlift Squadron took part in survival, evasion, resistance, and escape (SERE) training at the Arden Hills Army Training Site, here Sept. 16, 2012.

The training consisted of classroom instruction in the morning, followed by intense field training for the remainder of the day at AHATS. The classroom portion was lead by a SERE instructor who educated the Airmen on GPS, compass, map reading skills, as well as instruction and use of the PRC-112 survival radio.

The Airmen boarded a bus headed to AHATS thinking they were just going to be using their land navigations skills and water based training for the remainder of the day. When the bus arrived, members of the 133rd Security Forces Squadron here ambushed the Airmen, firing blanks and smoke bombs. Role playing as the enemy, they boarded and hijacked the bus leading the Airmen to holding cells where they were secured and left to try to escape. They had to work together as a team helping each other escape into the woods to use their land navigation skills to find their way towards friendly territory, all the while evading the enemy on the way.

"Our goal is to make this as realistic as possible," said Master Sgt. Aaron Siek, the NCO in charge of the exercise. "Scenarios like this really bring a shock value and put you into training mode, when you think you are just going for a walk in the wilderness and then you have two dozen cops chasing after you," he said.

After reaching their check point, it was now time to put to use their water survival skills. The Airmen put on their life preservers and entered Sunfish Lake. They swam to the middle of the lake and boarded a life raft where they were instructed on proper use and deployment of flares as well as instruction on how to escape from underneath their parachute.

"This training is important for deployment because it really puts things into perspective of what could really happen, that this is serious business," said Capt. Amy Groth a member of the 109th Airlift Squadron here.

"Training like this is so important, the fact that this training is only required every three years puts even more of an emphasis on its importance," said Siek. "These Airmen could become isolated anywhere at any time and this training is crucial to their survival."