Infantry: All Airmen Learn To Escape


January 6, 2011: Over the last six years, the U.S. Air Force has increased the number of airmen taking SERE (survival, evasion, resistance and escape) training. At first, this meant having more airmen take the standard two week course that is normally given to all flight crewmen, to enhance their chances of escaping capture, and being rescued, if they are ever shot down and land in hostile territory. But instead, shorter versions of SERE courses were developed, to make airmen more aware of the dangers (like getting kidnapped) when outside a base in Iraq, Afghanistan or other troublesome areas the air force operates in. This evolved into a four hour, computer based ECAC (Evasion and Conduct After Capture) that all air force personnel had to take, and a four day SERE course for those going overseas.

About 6,500 air force personnel currently take this SERE course each year. But now, with thousands of air force personnel on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan, and subject to capture, some version of the SERE course is given to all of those troops as well.

About half the SERE training is in the classroom, which includes coaching on how to resist interrogation and torture. The rest of the training is in the field, where practical field craft is demonstrated and practiced. This includes proven techniques for dealing with torture, and other bad things than can happen if you are captured by Islamic terrorists. Air force personnel headed for Iraq or Afghanistan also take a special four week combat course. The course is taught by many airmen who already have combat experience in Iraq.



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