Pilots get SEREious
By Airman 1st Class BrieAnna Stillman, 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published July 23, 2018
SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- As an F-16CM Fighting Falcon pilot, the possibility of ejection from the jet in case of an emergency could happen at any time, which is why pilots must keep up to date on their survival, evasion, rescue and escape training in order to stay mission ready at all times.
SERE training consists of many different aspects, such as land navigation, water survival and evading capture. Pilots practice these techniques in case of ejection from the F-16 and landing in unfriendly territory.
“The training teaches you land navigation, how to cover your tracks, build fires and live off the land,” said Capt. Ravi Surdhar, 20th Operation Support Squadron weapons and tactics flight lead. “The other part of it is signaling friendly forces and rescue forces to get picked up.”
The water training teaches pilots to stay calm if dragged in the water by the parachute or if it lands on top of them. It also trains them on what to do while being rescued from the water.
“This is training we do every so often so we can make sure if we were in combat over a water area and we had to eject, we would know exactly what to do before, during and after we hit the water,” said Capt. Zoe Kotnik, 55th Fighter Squadron chief of training.
SERE is all about surviving and this training strengthens muscle memory so pilots can continue to do things quickly and efficiently without getting caught, said Tech. Sgt. David Jones, 20th Operation Support Squadron weapons and tactics non-commissioned officer in charge.
SERE is a crucial part of training for Team Shaw pilots ensuring they are ready to stay ahead of the enemy and return home safely to their families.