Survival training prepares aviators

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kari Giles
  • 133rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
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."