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Airmen Learn Basic Survival Skills
by U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Shanice Williams-Jones
January 29, 2018

The 48th Operations Support Squadron Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape specialists conducted a training program open to all Airmen at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England in October 2018.

Specifically designed for aircrew personnel, this is the first time RAF Lakenheath SERE has opened the training opportunity for Airmen from all Air Force Specialty Codes.

Fifteen participants had the chance to learn basic survival skills such as building a shelter from available resources, finding sustenance and building fires used for warmth and signals.

October 8, 2018 - U.S. Air Force airmen learn basic survival skills such as building a shelter from available resources, finding sustenance, and building fires used for warmth and signals from 48th Operations Support Squadron Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) specialist at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England. (Image created by USA Patriotism! from U.S. Air Force photos by Airman 1st Class Shanice Williams-Jones)

The 48th Fighter Wing mission relies on Airmen from all backgrounds and career fields including many outside the cockpit who are less likely to need these skills on a daily basis.

Some participating Airmen who serve in roles off the flightline, feel this training helped tie them to the mission.

“With my AFSC you don’t get the exposure that other people in combat career fields get and it can become easy to lose sight of what our comrades are experiencing in deployed environments,” Airman 1st Class Joel Miller, 48th Dental Squadron dental technician and SERE participant. “This opportunity to learn about it can be a good reminder of why we joined.”

The course focuses on skills necessary to survive in the wilderness, but can be useful in daily life situations.

“This training doesn’t just come in handy in a combat or mission related situation,” said Staff Sgt. Derreck Day, 48th OSS SERE specialist. “You could find yourself lost in the woods on a camping trip, or run off the road during a snow storm where survival becomes a challenge.”

The training begins in the classroom where Airmen are introduced to survival tactics and attain the foundation for strategic thinking in stressful situations.

According to Tech. Sgt. Derek Owens, 48th OSS SERE specialist, familiarization of these basic skills will significantly increase the chances of survival in a real scenario compared to someone who may have no exposure to these concepts.

Though knowing the material is essential, SERE instructors stress the importance of practicing techniques constructing a survival kit for your vehicle and knowing how to effectively utilize its contents.

“The caveat to this training is that you never know how someone will react to a real survival situation,” Owens said. “We’re here to provide the opportunity for these Airmen to familiarize themselves with vital SERE techniques before that happens.”

The instructional training highlighted basic life-saving do’s and don’ts such as never drinking from contaminated water sources. It also debunked several commonly believed survival tips including the belief that it is safe to drink your own urine.

The SERE specialists plan to conduct this training bi-annually with the hope that more Liberty Wing Airmen get the opportunity to participate.

The program not only provides exposure to SERE techniques, it serves as an opportunity for the Liberty Wing Airmen of different career fields to fortify relationships with personnel from the 48th Operations Group.

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