Spangdahlem SERE conducts survival preparation with 1-214 GSAB

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Albert Morel

52nd Operations Support Squadron Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) Specialists hosted an isolated personnel mission assessment and preparation with U.S. Army aircraft pilots assigned to 1st General Support Aviation Battalion, 214th Aviation Regiment (1-214 GSAB) at Spangdahlem Air Base and U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz, Baumholder, Germany, October 24-26, 2023.

Throughout the course of the event, 52nd OSS SERE Specialists put the Army aviators through hands-on learning by completing field training exercises such as simulated evasion scenario, water survival drills, and captivity resolution strategies.

 The preparation event was designed to ready the soldiers for potential isolation, further increasing their survivability and combat readiness.

“Our people have and always will be the most important asset,” said Tech. Sgt. Zachary Rumke, 52nd OSS SERE non-commissioned officer in charge. “It is essential they are prepared for the worst day of their lives because it's not an if, it's a when.”

While the 1-214 GSAB aviators were the focus of the preparation, the event was also a good avenue for building partnerships with local civil authorities as members of local Polizei forces and the Trier, Germany search and rescue unit participated as role players in the exercise.

“This preparation event helped us to not only bring out our joint colleagues into our critical risk mitigation training, but also allowed us to build partnership capacity with German assets such as the Trier Polizei K9 and Search and Rescue unit,” said Master Sgt. Travis Siegwart, 52nd OSS SERE personnel recovery section chief.

“Typically building partnership capacity refers to working with other NATO countries,” said Siegwart. “So it was a nice change of pace to shift gears and work with the local community in honing both our skill sets.”
Additionally, the event acted not only as a refresher for the participating pilots but also provided newer aviators, who may have not yet attended similar events, with valuable skills and knowledge that could one day save their lives.

“Events such as this offer a refresher on SERE that most of our pilots haven’t seen in years,” said U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Zachary Pickard, a UC-35A Citation V executive and priority cargo airlift aircraft pilot and aviation mission survivability officer assigned to Easy Company, 1-214 GSAB. “New pilots who may have missed certain trainings are finally receiving instruction on the skills we believe are useful to us as military aviators.”

Pickard also harped on the importance of working amongst other military branches and how beneficial joint exercises can be to enhancing the skills needed for service members to survive in adverse situations. 

“The Air Force has professionals that specialize in this type of preparation that all military aviators use,” said Pickard. “The Army does not have this ability, so when we can train with the Air Force, our crews' ability to survive in adverse situations and overall skills are greatly improved.”