By Senior Airman Harry Brexel
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
A typical week of work for a survival specialist can include free-falling from the back of a C-130J, dangling from a hoist beneath a helicopter, trekking through woods eating insects or swimming between inflatable life rafts while instructing Airmen.
U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jerrod Mink is a survival, evasion, resistance and escape specialist for the 19th Operations Support Squadron.
From building shelters and finding potable water to land navigation and avoidance techniques, SERE specialists teach necessary skills for Airmen to survive on their own while evading the enemy until rescue.
Mink helps provide training to Little Rock Air Force Base C-130 aircrew members teaching them to survive on their own in any environment, should their aircraft go down.
“You have to be extremely self-sufficient and competent to run the intricate, high-risk operations that we do to ensure Little Rock aircrews get the most realistic training possible,” Mink said. “We train nearly 2,600 personnel annually.”
An avid hunter, Mink enjoys his on-duty time outdoors conducting survival training. Most of his instruction time provides Code of Conduct Continuation Training.
Mink manages the 19th Airlift Wing’s personnel recovery operational support programs as well as performing military jumpmaster duties for free-fall parachute operations.
“Our SERE training schedule runs Monday through Friday year-round, to keep up with demands for deployment rotations,” Mink said. “Each year, our SERE team conducts 126 CoCCT events which total approximately 660 hours of training.”
Mink, along with other 19th OSS SERE personnel, prepare C-130 aircrews for the worst-case scenario in order for them to execute the combat airlift mission at their best knowing they have the knowledge to overcome any possibility.
“We tailor our program to Airmen based on the C-130 airframe and tactical airlift mission,” Mink said. “Then we take equipment aircrew members use downrange and build potential scenarios that put them in a position where they are required to apply their knowledge and hone their skills.”
As long as Little Rock AFB C-130s are flying overhead, Mink will be preparing Airmen for forest, aquatic, urban, tropical and desert survival situations.
For more information about SERE operations or to become a SERE specialist, visit www.goSERE.af.mil.