SERE water survival training

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(U.S. Air Force photo by Airmen 1st Class Ashley N. Steffen)

DAVIS MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz.  — Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape water survival training taught by a SERE instructor from the 355th Operational Support Squadron refreshes an aircrew on how to survive in the event that they become stranded.

Crew members complete an initial course and revisit the training every three years. The refresher training stimulates memories about surviving undesirable situations such as a downed aircraft.

“It is essential to us to know that we have a plan if anything goes wrong,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Corey Cody, 43rd Electronic Combat Squadron flight engineer. “Doing everything hands on is crucial to develop that muscle memory. It is something you can’t just get from a PowerPoint slide.”

During the course, a SERE specialist teaches the trainees how to react during scenarios if parachuting into water.

Scenarios included: if wind catches the parachute causing victims to be dragged, face-up or face-down, across open water they are able to react and detach the canopy; how to safely emerge under a parachute canopy during a water landing and how to enter a personal life raft; and how to be properly situated for several types of rescue techniques.

“This course gives us the tools we need to survive long enough for a rescue,” said Lt. Col. Lance Benson, 43th Electronic Combat Squadron commander. “In the event that we go down, we have the basics to keep the crew together and survive.”