What Is A USAF SERE Specialist?
Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape (SERE) Specialists are a specialized career field in the US Air Force who prepare DOD personnel to return with honor from isolating events. Their training consists of learning to adapt to all biomes and their associated weather conditions, along with surviving various captivity situations. SERE Specialists operate in the field of Personnel Recovery (PR) by providing support to the five execution tasks; Report, Locate, Support, Recover, and Reintegrate. SERE Specialists are also the only DOD specialty specifically trained, equipped, organized, and employed to conduct SERE operations for the duration of their career, and they are the USAF force of choice to train and support isolated personnel.
As a SERE Specialist the core of the training that you provide centers on the Code of Conduct. US Armed Forces are required to receive different levels of Code of Conduct training depending on their job and their risk of isolation. The training consists of three levels: "Level A" is the minimum level of understanding in regards to the wording and basic meaning of the six articles of the Code of Conduct (given during Basic Military Training), "Level B" which is needed by personnel who have a moderate risk of capture covering a higher level of understanding of the articles of the Code of Conduct and how to apply them, and "Level C" which is needed by personnel who have a high risk of capture that provides a greater confidence in the persons abilities to use the Code of Conduct. At the USAF SERE School you will instruct individuals in "Level C" Code of Conduct training, which is the highest level of Code of Conduct training DOD personnel can receive. After your tour at the SERE School you will continue to provide Code of Conduct Continuation Training to DOD personnel to better prepare them prior to deploying to a hostile environment.
During Personnel Recovery Operations you are part of a close-knit team who defend our nation as the Air Force's "Guardian Angels." Guardian Angel is a non-aircraft weapons system that is composed of personnel from three specific Air Force specialties with the core skills and equipment required to provide the war fighting commander with a full spectrum capability to accomplish Personnel Recovery. The Combat Rescue Officer, Pararescue personnel, and SERE Specialists represents three distinct elements of the weapon systems capability. Specifically, SERE Specialist support to PR operations covers the spectrum of engagements from regional conflict to small-scale contingencies and consists of three mission areas which form the SERE triad. These include (1) initial training, (2) refresher/continuation training, and (3) deployed operations supporting high-risk-of-capture /high-risk-of-isolation personnel. Operational SERE Specialists role within the "Guardian Angel" weapon system is to support the five tasks of PR. The support begins by preparing the war fighter to properly plan and prepare if they encounter an isolating event. The SERE Specialist will continue to support by assisting in the pre planning and preparation for possible isolated personnel and the ensuing PR mission. Upon the recovery of isolated personnel the operational SERE Specialist helps to facilitate reintegration and ensure lessons learned are documented and forwarded.
• Earn 30 days of vacation with pay each year, beginning your first year
• Comprehensive medical and dental care
• Tax-free food, clothing and housing allowances
• Thrift Savings Plan similar to a 401K
• Discount shopping at on-base grocery and department stores
• Use of base recreational facilities including fitness centers, golf courses, bowling centers, swimming pools and movie theaters
• Up to 100 percent tuition assistance
• A chance to live, work and travel overseas
• Special duty assignment pay from $75 to $300 per month
• Extra pay for parachute duties and/or dive (dependent on qualification and duty assignment)
• Initial Entry Bonus of $16,000 (for a six-year enlistee) and $3,000 (for a four-year enlistee) upon completion of SERE Specialist Training
• You will be given 50 of the 64 credit hours required to complete your Community College of the Air Force, Associates Degree (CCAF), upon graduating the SERE Specialist Training. Any additional credits you need to complete your CCAF will be 100% paid for by the AF. (If you are looking for more information on education benefits go to www.AirForce.com )
Any additional info on Job Benefits for the SERE Specialist career field can be found by following the FaceBook link to "Discussions".
Through the training pipeline you will become an expert on the methods used to survive in the arctic, desert, open ocean, jungle, and mountain regions. You will also understand what it takes to survive in a hostile environment while evading as an isolated person and surviving in a captivity situation. But one of the most important skills that you will learn is the ability to affectively pass your knowledge on to others. SERE Specialists can "talk the talk" because they have "walked the walk." Upon graduation of the SERE Specialist pipeline you will be authorized to wear the SERE Specialist Beret, SERE Specialist Arch, and the AETC Instructor badge. The first step is to make it past the SERE Specialist Selection course, follow the "Selection" link.
SERE Specialist Selection is a 15 day course conducted at Lackland AFB, TX and a remote training site in Camp Bowie, TX. The SERE Selection course is designed to screen and select candidates coming out of BMT, and candidates that are retraining from another Air Force Specialty Career. Candidates are evaluated on specific behaviors and character traits necessary in order to be successful in the SERE Specialist training course, and later to become an operational SERE Specialist. This course will challenge you physically and mentally past what you have experienced before, so that we can to test your ability to push through seemingly impossible physical and mental challenges while keeping a positive mental attitude. You will also be evaluated on your ability to speak by giving basic lessons, your ability to demonstrate basic leadership traits, your ability to complete basic tasks by following specific instructions, and your ability to learn through a "see then do" method of instruction. At any time you can "Self Eliminate" or quit from the course, and you are encouraged too, if you feel like the SERE Specialist career field is not for you, however everyone is encouraged to complete the course before you make that decision. In order to increase your chances at graduating you must be extremely physically fit and mentally prepared prior to coming into SERE Specialist Selection.
To find more info about SERE Specialist Selection and how to prepare follow the link to FACEBOOK and YOUTUBE.
After successfully completing training you will be awarded the SERE Beret and the "SERE Specialist" arch, (more info can be found on Facebook about the Beret and the Arch) and take your place among a only a few SERE Specialists in the Air Force. You will also attend the Army's Basic Parachutist Course at FT. Benning, GA and receive your basic "Jump Wings" upon graduation.
However, the work is not done! For the next 5-6 months, your main focus will be to certify as a field training instructor in the Combat SERE course. This certification process will involve researching support material that will help you develop personal lesson plans to instruct the field portion of the Combat SERE course. You will start off teaching only a portion of the required material. Once you show proficiency in the material you will begin to instruct more until you are teaching all the material and planning out the day to day logistics for your element to accomplish the long list of objectives. For the next three years your duties will be as a field training INSTRUCTOR. During that time you will also work on becoming a mission ready SERE Specialist, which means that you are qualified to be operational in support of PR, and part of that qualification is honing some basics skills that you can only achieve by as a field training instructor. After 3 years you can move on to a variety of different assignments with varying duties.
To find more info about working as a field training instructor, assignments, and other opportunities you can achieve as a SERE Specialist follow the link to FACEBOOK.
After completion of the SERE Specialist Selection course, all approved applicants are assigned to Fairchild AFB, Washington to complete the remainder of the SERE Specialist pipeline. Before starting technical training you will complete 3 prerequisite courses, the Combat SERE course, the Water Survival, Non-Parachuting course, and the Underwater Egress course. The Combat SERE course is a 19 day course that includes eleven days of academic, laboratory, and field training over survival and evasion techniques followed by eight days of academic and laboratory training on surviving captivity. The Water Survival, Non-Parachuting course provides aircrew members with two days of hands-on training with the equipment they would actually use in a water survival situation, and the Underwater Egress course that will provide aircrew the ability to get out of their aircraft if it is submerged in water. These courses will give you the basic knowledge going into the SERE Technical course and if you graduate the pipeline you will end up teaching one or all these courses while up at Fairchild AFB.
Course S-V81-A SERE Specialist Training (SST) is the 6 month technical training program that all potential SERE Specialists go through to learn Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape, Personnel Recovery and Instructor skills. During this course, students will become specialists in Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape as well Personnel Recovery.
This school is one of the most physically and mentally demanding technical schools in the Air Force. SST offers two classes a year, broken down into a summer class (starts in July) and a winter class (starts in Jan.) The longest you will be in the field is 22 days during the Familiarization and Mobile phases. After that the time varies from about 5 - 12 days.
As a student your typical day on base begins at 0700. Most days will begin with physical training intended on preparing trainees for upcoming field training exercises. PT may consist of runs of 2-8 miles, calisthenics that may consist of, but is not limited to, 200 push-ups, 200 sit-ups, 200 flutter kicks, 50 pull-ups, and 50 8-count body builders. After, students meet at the SST building (school house) and attend academic lessons. On base instruction will vary depending on the phase of training.
Any given day in the field usually starts before the sun is up and ends long after the sun has gone down. No matter how many times you may find yourself being awake for countless hours without sleep and no matter how cold or hot you may think you are in the end it is all worth it to become a US Air Force SERE Specialist...
To find more info about SERE Specialist Selection and how to prepare follow the link to FACEBOOK and YOUTUBE.
We want only the best. That is why we handpick SERE Specialist trainees. We need men and women who are bright, independent self-starters who love the outdoors. You will attend approximately a one year rigorous pipeline to learn survival, evasion, resistance and escape techniques and procedures and attend Basic Airborne School. When finished, you will earn the right to wear the coveted SERE Specialist beret and arch, which identify you as a member of this elite team.
• Be a U.S. citizen
• Be a high school graduate
• Score at least 55 in the general category of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test
• Obtain an 11th grade reading level on the Air Force Reading Abilities Test
• Must not have speech impediment which interferes with clear enunciation
• Have normal night and color vision
• Uncorrected distant vision not worse than 20/400 each eye corrected to 20/20
• Lift 70 pounds over your head
• Pass the minimum requirements for the SERE Physical Ability And Stamina Test (PAST)
• Be able to carry a 65-pound backpack four miles in one hour
• Have no allergies to pollens, grasses, etc.
• Qualify for a Secret security clearance for entry
You can find additional information about specific entry requirements by contacting your Air Force recruiter, to locate your local recruiter or to find more info go to AIRFORCE.COM or call 1-800-423-USAF.
• 200-meter swim – free style, breast stroke, side stroke – 10:00 minute time limit
• 1.5-mile run – less than 11:00 minutes
• Pull-ups (1 min) – 8 reps
• Sit-ups (2 min) – 48 reps
• Push-ups (2 min) – 48 reps
The PAST requirements are designed to test for a minimum fitness level for entry into the SERE Specialist Selection. Candidates should continue to train throughout their application process to exceed these minimums in order to enhance their chances of success. Exercise form is strictly enforced during the PAST and in the training pipeline. Repetitions done without proper form will not be counted and will be to the member's disadvantage.
"Prior Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance."
We are looking for a strong willed person, with high integrity, good work ethic that seeks out challenges, and is not simply satisfied with just settling for the bare minimum. Completing the rigorous 1 year pipe line is not an easy task, and for the many that start this pipe line only a few successfully complete the training process. However, the secret to success is very simple, proper preparation, strong dedication to succeed, self motivation, and a positive mental attitude will increase your potential for success dramatically.
So, if what you have read so far describes who you are and is the rewarding challenge that you are looking for then the first step to becoming a SERE Specialist is to properly educate yourself on the training process and the job after training. Follow the links to the "USAF SERE" Facebook page where you can learn more info through the "Discussions" as well as post questions on the "Wall" that will be answered by a SERE Specialist. Also, watch videos on the USAFSERECADRE's YouTube Channel that will give you a better idea of the training process and what the job will be like when you graduate.