Air Force Chief of
Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley met Aug. 10 at the Pentagon with
several Air Force leaders to discuss the road ahead for survival,
evasion, resistance and escape training.
Air Force leaders plan to broaden the focus of SERE training for
all Airmen due to the threat of isolation and capture for Airmen
supporting the war on terrorism.
"As we've seen recently, the capture of military personnel has
the potential of exploding into a larger strategic event with
global impacts," General Moseley said. "Today's battlefields are
non-linear and non-contiguous; their shape and venue change
constantly. I worry we've not prepared our Airmen for the world
we're operating in."
In today's ever-changing world, Airmen increasingly find
themselves in a non-traditional environment outside the wire. SERE
training teaches Airmen principles, techniques and skills to
survive in any environment, avoid capture, resist and escape if
SERE training is currently conducted on three levels. All Airmen
receive entry-level, or A-level, training. B-level is provided to
those with a moderate risk of capture and C-level is reserved for
those with a high risk of capture. B- and C-level training is
provided primarily to aircrew members, those traditionally in
higher risk duties.
Col. Bill Andrews, a guest speaker at the summit, was an F-16
Fighting Falcon pilot flying his 35th mission in the final stages
of Operation Desert Storm when he was shot down, captured and spent
time as a POW.
"An Airman captured faces grave moral and physical challenges,"
Colonel Andrews said. "My training gave me a gut understanding that
I was still at war and not in a time-out. My SERE training at the
Air Force Academy, 14 years earlier, was clear as a bell, giving me
the confidence to not break in the face of the enemy."
In addition to aircrews, advanced SERE training currently is
provided to battlefield Airmen, those with the responsibility for
combat control, pararescue, tactical air control and combat
"This is a great day. For the first time in history, we're
talking about preparing all Airmen in the total force to deal with
the increasing threat of isolation and capture," said Chief Master
Sergeant John Myers, SERE career field manager.
"With the issues we've addressed at this summit, we've taken a
great step forward in facing this ultimate challenge that confronts
our Airmen who fall into enemy hands," Colonel Andrews added.
General Moseley's (pictured below) new initiative will be to
incorporate SERE training throughout the Air Force.
"We need to inject these skills across the entire force,"
General Moseley said.
"Whether deployed for combat operations, stationed overseas or
even in the continental United States, there are persistent threats
to all Airmen. We must ensure every Airman is properly trained to
deal with these threats. From the moment Airmen report for initial
training until they separate or retire, we must train them to
ensure they return with honor."