SCT Offers Survival & Bushcraft Courses That Differ From SERE Training
What Does SERE Stand For?
Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape is defined as a training program, best known by its military acronym (SERE), and the term tends to be more widely used in the US.
Back in my day, it was known as ‘E&E’ in the UK – Escape and Evasion – but it encompasses the same type of survival training pretty much.
SERE training prepares military personnel, Defense civilians, and private military contractors to survive and return from survival situations.
The curriculum includes survival skills, evading capture, application of the military code of conduct, and techniques for escape from enemy captivity.
Officially established by the US Air Force at the end of World War II and the start of the Cold War, it was extended to other branches including the Navy and US Marine Corps, and then consolidated within the US Air Force during the Korean War with more of an emphasis on ‘resistance training.’
During the Vietnam War, which ended in 1975, there was a definite need for ‘jungle’ survival training and a greater focus on American POWs. As a result, the US military enlarged their SERE programs and training sites.
In the late 1980s, the US Army became more involved with SERE as Special Forces units grew. Today, SERE is taught to a variety of military personnel based on their risk of capture and exploitation value.
More specifically, they train air crew, special operations, as well as foreign diplomatic and intelligence personnel.
The origins of SERE are also rooted in the leadership of Britain’s MI9 Escape and Evasion (E&E) organisation, formed at the beginning of World War II (1939–1945).
Led by World War I veteran Colonel (later Brigadier) Norman Crockatt, MI9 was formed to train air crew and Special Forces in evading enemy troops following ejection from an aircraft, forced landings, or being cut off behind enemy lines.
A training school was established in London, and officers and instructors from MI9 also began visiting operational air bases, where they provided onsite training to air crews unable to be detached from their duties to attend formal courses.
MI9 went on to create a multitude of evasion and escape tools. These tools included overt items to aid immediate evasion after bailing out (or ejecting) and covert items for use to aid escape following capture.
These survival items were hidden within their uniforms and personal items (e.g. concealed compasses, silk and tissue maps, etc).
Once the US entered the war in 1941, MI9 staff travelled to Washington, DC, to discuss their now mature E&E training, devices, and proven results with the US Army Air Forces (USAAF).
As a result, the United States initiated their own Escape and Evasion organisation, known as MIS-X, based in Virginia.
For a look at some of the SERE training, take a look at this article here.