Story by A1C Jonathan Valdes on 03/12/2019The 3rd Operations Support Squadron Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape conducted a Combat Survival Training course at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, March 7, 2019.
Combat Survival Training is the SERE refresher course for high-risk personnel to get reacquainted with some of the skills they learned during the extensive S-V-80A course at Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, Washington.
"Students are required to go through the refresher course every 36 months, and it allows us to give them any updates that have come during the time gap," said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Justin Covieo, 3rd OSS SERE specialist. "The training lasts a full day, and the students will use equipment to mimic what they would actually have if they were trying to survive in a combat situation."
The course is designed to give attendees an opportunity to test themselves and show how prepared they are.
"While in the classroom, we are able to see the tactics, techniques and procedures that we normally use, and it helps refresh us," said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Henry Schantz, 525th Fighter Squadron commander. "By going outside and testing out the equipment, it helps groom our knowledge."
The Combat Survival Training course can play a major role for each student taking the class because situations are different, and every tool provided can be utilized in one way or another.
"The skills that we learn in Combat Survival Training are applicable both for our military job and for being a civilian," Schantz said. "We can use some of the things we learn on lifesaving, immediate care or just how to survive in case of something similar to the 7.0 earthquake last year."
The refresher course prevents personnel from becoming complacent. It allows them to survive for days at a time by using the skills they've gathered from the one-day event.
"The course is very important especially for some of the remote areas we fly in Alaska," Schantz said. "It enables us to survive in locations where we are isolated by mountains or terrain, and survive off the land, navigate, communicate and effect our own recovery. It helps us come back home to our families, our job and to complete our mission."