What is SERE?

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SERE stands for Survive Evade Resist Escape. Created by the USAF as an intense, top-secret military training program. Founded after the Korean War to train US servicemen in order to withstand enemy interrogation. Devised by tortured American POW’s who formed the Code of Conduct; a list of six ‘articles’.

SERE is famed as the world’s source for military torture knowledge. Yet at times bad press surrounds this Washington based program, labeled the military’s torture school. Indeed, it is central to the notorious ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ at Guantanamo. Notably, SERE staff were sent to this detention camp shortly after 9/11, providing their technical expertise on ‘tactics’ such as water-boarding.

Currently all USAFA pilots with wings and Special Forces must complete the SERE program post graduating.

SERE Training

Graduates will experience SERE inflicting sensory extreme deprivation and extreme confinement. Being largely based upon past POW experiences. Consisting of three key parts; survival in remote, hostile zones, evasion of the enemy, resistance of torture and interrogation upon capture. Last but not least, escape. In addition, water survival is fundamental; either in a boat or as your own float.Tuition also includes tactics for enduring extreme climates and terrain, alone. Naturally some of the training remains top secret.

SERE training takes place at three levels:

  • A: Entry level training. Code of Conduct classes taken by all at induction.
  • B: For those expected to operate forward of the division rear boundary and up to FLOT. Mostly limited to aircrew of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force. Level B focuses on survival and evasion, with resistance in terms of initial capture.
  • C: For troops at a high risk of capture whose rank make them more vulnerable than average by any captor. Level C focuses on resistance in terms of prison camps.

Surplus survival training in Level C Code of Conduct may include the PDAHS course which provides skills to survive captivity by a hostile government, or terrorist cell during peacetime.

Some declare this school is more of a shady ritual than actual training. Moreover, not relevant to the current war on terrorism. Whilst others even class it as a sign out of basic human rights… That said, the steadfast emerge from this extreme program with an entirely different mindset; with the realisation that all the pomp and circumstance of wearing their uniform is utterly pointless, without also being fitted out in courage and commitment.

Although clearly unorthodox, this combat survival tuition will ensure that if you do go down in battle, that you have the capability to survive. Thus it may be the most important school you may ever attend.