SERE Training To Survive
by U.S. Air National Guard Master Sgt. Daniel Ter Haar
Behind enemy lines or in the middle of the
wilderness is a place that no pilot would ever like to find
themselves. This is where the Master Sgt. Jeff Campbell’s knowledge
and experience comes in to play.
As a Survival, Evasion,
Resistance and Escape or “SERE” Specialist assigned to the Iowa Air
National Guard’s 185th Air Refueling Wing, Campbell's expertise
helps aircrews survive and return with honor.
Campbell worked with aircrew members from South Dakota’s 114th
Fighter Wing on land and sea survival techniques as well as escape
and evasion tactics.
As part of the training, the aircrew
their land navigation and evasion skills. The pilots navigated
through the woods at Newton Hills State Park using only a compass
and a map while “enemy” actors tried to track them.
1st Lt. Scott Greenman, an F-16 pilot assigned to the 114th Fighter Wing in Sioux Falls South Dakota reads a map with Staff Sgt. Ben Martens during a Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape or “SERE” refresher course at Newton Hills State Park, South Dakota.
(Image created by USA Patriotism! from U.S. Air National
Guard photo by Master Sgt. Daniel Ter Haar.)
“At the heart of SERE is the “Return With
Honor” motto. We spend our careers training aircrew how to get back
home, with honor, under any circumstances, whether that be in
peacetime, wartime, or hostage environments. If we are not training
aircrew to Return With Honor, then we are prepping for personnel
recovery operations,” said Campbell.
As a SERE Specialist,
Master Sgt. Campbell has a long list of qualifications from courses
he has attended in his career including basic survival courses such
as Biome Survival Training, Tactical Shooting and Driving and
Military Parachuting courses. In addition Campbell has attended
several different medical courses such as EMT-B and Wilderness First
“I am qualified to teach/instruct any Air Force
Survival. Evasion. Resistance. Escape (SERE) courses and refresher
training for aircrew. I am also worldwide deployable in order to
support Personnel Recovery Operations, missions, and training,” said
Campbell also mentioned that training with and
teaching other units was nothing new to him and that, because of the
rigors of the SERE Specialist school and upgrade training, the
number of qualified SERE Specialists are relatively few. The small
number of SERE Specialists means Campbell stays busy training
“There are SERE Specialists in the Guard, the
Reserves, and Active Duty. There just aren't as many in the Guard
and Reserves at this time. SERE is beneficial for all Air Force
aircrew, not only do I work with and train ANG aircrew, I also go
TDY to train and work with Reserve and Active Duty aircrew,” said
According to Campbell SERE training isn’t just
beneficiary to aircrew, any airmen who enjoy the outdoors should
take an interest in SERE.
September 28, 2022 - 1st Lt. Scott Greenman, an F-16 pilot assigned to the 114th Fighter Wing in Sioux Falls South Dakota navigates to a check point during a Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape or “SERE” refresher course at Newton Hills State Park, South Dakota. (Image created by USA Patriotism! from U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Daniel Ter Haar.)
“If we can help ensure
aircrew make it back home under any kind of peacetime, wartime, or
hostage scenario then we can help anyone who enjoys the outdoors.
Myself and my peers, would always be happy to impart our survival
knowledge on anyone who is willing to learn. I have taught hundreds
of offshoot classes to civilians, AFSC's outside of the aircrew
world, and other branches of military,” said Campbell.
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