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Deployed bomber personnel participate in joint SERE training exercise

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Erica Stewart
  • 36th Operations Group public affairs
After parachuting into in the jungles of Guam, a member of the 393rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron falls to the ground, checks his body for wounds and then prepares to evade the enemy.

Staff Sgt. Brooks Steinbacher, a Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape specialist from Whiteman AFB, Mo., did not actually parachute into the jungle nor is he in an actual combat situation, but he is in the process of demonstrating proper SERE techniques in the Northwest field here on Feb. 6.

Sergeant Steinbacher was brought to Andersen from Whiteman for one week with the sole purpose of re-certifying 12 members of the 393rd EBS on SERE tactics.

"The pilots are required to re-train in SERE triennially," said Sergeant Steinbacher. "Because of the nature of their job, they may encounter various terrains and climates and should be prepared survive and evade the enemy."

For more than 10 hours, Sergeant Steinbacher taught the pilots, as well as other 393rd EBS personnel, proper SERE techniques in the jungle such as how to build a fire, find food, water and shelter, use a Global Positioning System, and radio procedures.

"One of the biggest challenges is the wet environment in the jungle," Sergeant Steinbacher said. "It makes doing things like, building a fire in the jungle, hard because it's difficult to find dry wood," he said.

After spending an entire duty day in Andersen's jungle, the SERE trainees returned to the Northwest Field around 7 p.m. to participate in a joint search, rescue and medical evacuation exercise with the Navy's Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Two-Five.

393rd EBS members waited in groups of four in Northwest Field, as if they were injured in a war zone, for a MEDEVAC helicopter.

"Participating in the night helicopter training rescue recoveries with HSC-25 was a great experience because we were able to practice our recovery procedures in a real-world environment," said Maj. Geoffrey Romanowicz, 393rd EBS chief of weapons and tactics. "By simulating realistic combat recoveries, HSC-25 made the pilots of the 393rd EBS more confident in their ability to succeed in a survival situation."

Another advantage of participating in a joint training mission is learning the differences in rescue procedures between branches of service, Sergeant Steinbacher said.

"The Navy's recovery procedures are a lot different from the Air Force, so we have to re-teach all the little things they do differently and will expect from our men," he said. "For example, the Navy allows the flight engineer to sometimes steer the helicopter from the rear; little things like that are important for us to know to effectively complete a rescue mission.

"It's important to know these differences because all military branches are represented overseas and we must work as one military to win the Global War on Terror," he added.

The 393rd EBS seamlessly integrated with HSC-25, completing the joint night MEDEVAC training as well as brush up on SERE skills.

"I do not train with my survival equipment on a regular basis," Major Romanowicz said. "Training in SERE techniques as well as working together with HSC-25 allows us a great opportunity to refresh our proficiency with both the equipment and tactics that we will need to use in a survival situation to save our lives."

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