An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | Feb. 3, 2016

66th Training Squadron Detachment Arctic Certifies Training Survival Evasion Resistance Escape Specialist

By Staff Sgt. Joshua Turner

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- On top of an ice covered slope with constant arctic winds and less than seven hours of daylight, 20 Survival Evasion Resistance Escape specialists trained for four days in freezing temperatures, upgrading their Arctic survival training.

The Arctic survival training is a week-long course that gives S.E.R.E. specialist hands on experience with building shelters and surviving in the extreme arctic temperatures.

This course, taught by the 66th Training Squadron Detachment 1 at Eielson Air Force Base is the final step for these Airmen to become S.E.R.E. specialist journeymen.

“We brought the soon to be 5-level S.E.R.E. specialist out to the barren land on part of the Joint Pacific Alaska Range complex,” said Staff Sgt. Ryan Rogers, a 66th TRS Det. 1 S.E.R.E specialist. “We bring them to a peak with good packed, windswept snow, which is good for us to build shelters and dense enough for us to cut snow blocks.”

Instructors showed students how to cut blocks out of the packed snow to build a wall next to their tents to help block the cold, harsh winds. As the sun was setting the students melted chunks of snow from around the area for a source of water and then received tasks for the night from the instructors, who would soon leave the students for the night to battle the night cold alone.

“We already know the basic principles that go along the line of survival itself,” said Staff Sgt. Joseph Aguilera, a 22nd TRS S.E.R.E. specialist apprentice from Fairchild AFB, Wash. “This was the first time we’ve ever been able to cut blocks, build snow caves, snow domes, igloos and other structures that are required in these extreme conditions.”

Throughout the next day the students were busy cutting numerous other snow blocks, as well as digging snow caves and other structures they would be sleeping in for the night.

“With the shelters we built, we took our time and put in the extra effort to make them comfortable for ourselves,” Aguilera said. “That really helped us sleep a lot better.”

One of the final lessons came with help from the U.S. Army and an UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter from Ft. Wainwright, Alaska. The students were given a briefing on how the aircraft can handle the arctic environment along with the hoist capability.

“The Army will come out and hoist each S.E.R.E. specialist up a little bit so they can experience the rotor wash in these temperatures,” said Rogers. “They can convey that to their students back at the survival school on what it’s like to be hoisted in an arctic environment.”

Aguilera said the biggest reward he’ll take away from the training isn’t for himself, it’s for his future students.

“I’ll be able to pass this information to them so if the time comes, they are able to survive and return with honor,” said Aguilera.




Remains of Korean War Soldier to be buried in Wrightstown, New Jersey
June 13, 2024 - The remains of Army Pfc. Anthony J. Lopa, a Soldier killed during the Korean War, will be interred June 28 at Brig. Gen. William C. Doyle Veteran Memorial Cemetery, Wrightstown, New Jersey. Maxwell Funeral Home, Little Egg...

First Royal Australian Navy Enlisted Sailors Begin Training at U.S. Submarine School
United States Navy and Royal Australian Navy Sailors enrolled in the U.S. Naval Submarine School’s Basic Enlisted Submarine School pose for a photo between training sessions aboard the Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Connecticut, Jun. 11, 2024. 

These nine RAN Sailors are the first group of enlisted RAN Sailors to attend the U.S. Naval Submarine School as part of AUKUS (Australia, United Kingdom, United States) Pillar 1 Optimal Pathway, aimed at helping Australia acquire a conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarine fleet.

U.S. Navy photo by Lauren Laughlin
June 13, 2024 - GROTON, Conn.--The U.S. Naval Submarine School in Groton welcomed its first cadre of nine enlisted sailors and the second cadre of three officers from the Royal Australian Navy on June 3rd and 10th respectively. These 12...

Bersama Warrior 2024 first week wraps up with Mission Analysis Brief
Exercise Leadership receives a mission analysis brief as Bersama Warrior 2024 wrapped up their first week of the command post exercise, June 8, 2024 in Kuala Lupmur, Malaysia. (Courtesy Photo)
June 12, 2024 - Forty members of the Washington National Guard and their Malaysian Armed Forces counterparts wrapped up a successful first week of the Bersama Warrior 2024 staff exercise with a mission analysis brief on June 8, 2024, in...

U.S. Navy and Air Force special operations personnel conduct routine training in the Republic of Korea
A U.S. Air Force AC-130J Ghostrider gunship assigned to the 4th Special Operations Squadron from Hulburt Field, Fla. lands at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea (ROK) June 12, 2024. The Ghostrider and its crews are participating in a regularly scheduled joint, combined exchange and training (JCET) event designed to positively affect the combat readiness of special operations forces (SOF) personnel in support of the mutual defense of the U.S. and ROK homelands. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jacob Cabanero)
June 12, 2024 - U.S. Air Force personnel and an AC-130J Ghostrider gunship assigned to the 1st Special Operations Wing arrived in the Republic of Korea on June 12, 2024, in support of an ongoing joint, combined exchange training iteration...

3rd MLR conducts civil engagements and volunteers during summer exercise series
U.S. Marines with 3rd Littoral Combat Team, 3rd Marine Littoral Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, paint a local school during the maritime key terrain security operations event of Balikatan 24 at Itbayat, Philippines, May 7, 2024. The event was conducted alongside Philippine Marines with Marine Battalion Landing Team 10. BK 24 is an annual exercise between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the U.S. military designed to strengthen bilateral interoperability, capabilities, trust, and cooperation built over decades of shared experiences. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Malia Sparks)
June 12, 2024 - In addition to enhancing their warfighting capabilities through bilateral military training, U.S. Marines and Sailors with 3rd Marine Littoral Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, and Philippine Marines with 4th Marine Brigade,...