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Christopher Kibler is a retired Army first sergeant. He now works for the Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape, or SERE, school at Fort Bragg, N.C., teaching others survival techniques.
Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) candidates participate in field training exercise June 27, 2018 at Camp Bullis, Texas. Candidates must overcome roughly a year’s worth of demanding training before calling themselves SERE specialists. Their trials start with the SERE Specialist Training Orientation Course (SST-OC) located at Joint Base San Antonio. (U.S. Air Force video by Marcelo Joniaux)
SERE Training at Fort George G. Meade, Maryland, United States. On today's edition of Around the Air Force, Sgt. Brad Sisson shows us how Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape (SERE) specialist train to maintain their professional skills in protecting military assets in today's Air Force.
Aviators at Ellsworth AFB are required to complete Survival Evasion Resistance Escape (SERE) training, one of which is water survival. A1C Tsai explains how a group of B-1 bomber pilots and a SERE Specialist utilized the base pool to accomplish their training.

who we are

What you don’t know can mean the difference between life and death.

When you’re a Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) Specialist, it’s your job to possess the skills and knowledge to make the difference. You will be chartered with ensuring all high risk-of-capture/isolation personnel return with honor from any type of survival situation.

During personnel recovery operations, you’re part of a close-knit team composed of Combat Rescue Officers and Pararescuemen who defend our nation’s forces as a part of the Air Force’s “Guardian Angel Weapon System.”

Training

Before you attend Basic Military Training (BMT) at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, you’ll work with your recruiter to ensure you meet the requirements for SERE. In addition, the recruiter will administer your first PAST.

Once you graduate from BMT, you’ll attend the SERE Specialist Screening course, also at Lackland. This school lasts 19 days, during which time you’ll be evaluated on your physical fitness, speaking ability, dedication, ability to complete tasks and follow instructions, and your leadership potential.

Only the best will go on to the formal course – SERE Specialist Training (SST) at Fairchild AFB, Washington. SST is not for the weak. This 5 ½ months of intensive training requires a level of dedication most people simply do not have. You’ll learn to be a survivalist, and at the same time, learn to be an instructor. You’ll learn to survive and thrive in multiple environments – the mountains, desert, tropics and open ocean. Approximately three months of this training will be in the field. Training and instruction occurs in all major climatic conditions, often in remote locations and in all possible weather conditions. You’ll also become an expert in wilderness first aid, rough land evacuation and hand-to-hand combat.

After completing SST, you’ll attend Army Airborne, the military parachute course. Once you upgrade to the next skill level, you could attend Military Free Fall, scuba and emergency medical technician courses, as well as other Air Force SERE schools.

You also earn approximately 47 semester hours toward an associate’s degree through the Community College of the Air Force.

requirements

• 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

• Have normal night and color vision

• Pass the minimum requirements for the SERE Physical Ability and Stamina Test (PAST)

• Uncorrected distant vision not worse than 20/400 each eye correctable to 20/20

• Lift 70 pounds over your head

• 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, Top Secret for retention

Benefits

• 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

• You may qualify for special duty assignment pay or an enlistment bonus

physical ability and stamina test minimum requirements

• 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

elite team

We want only the best. That’s why we handpick SERE Specialist trainees. If you’re selected for training, you can expect to push yourself to the limits of your abilities. We need men and women who are bright, independent self-starters who love the outdoors. You’ll attend approximately one year of rigorous training to learn survival, evasion, resistance and escape techniques and procedures and attend Basic Airborne School. When finished, you’ll earn the right to wear the coveted SERE Specialist beret and arch, which identify you as a member of this elite team.