SERE: Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape

Eric Sof

Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) Training lasts for the course of 24 weeks and it is divided into 3 phases

Have you ever wondered what is the integral behavior of an offense punished more severely by the Italian penal code? If you answered: “murder,” Well dear dear reader, you are wrong. The criminal conduct more severely punished, is related to the crime of kidnapping. This made me think about some old speech made in front of a couple of beers with friends of our special forces with old friends or professionals of security in high-risk countries.

They all agreed on one thing: “Enzo, look at it this way … if you can not get you out of trouble alone, you’d better stay at home. You have not let you never go back, but you, if you can, you do not even stop to wait to be there. ” We have discussed the issue and embraced the detailed preparation that military or any PSD, should address before packing for some mission or contract.

The speech, when you’re on SERE held bank for a few hours (then the alcohol has done its job and has moved on to talk about women). I contacted these friends, in order to detail for readers of TNM a profile of this program, Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape, developed overseas, encoded at Fort Bragg, and now applied to the Naval Air Station Brunswick.

SERE in military

It ‘a program, a fundamental and integral part of the formation of a good professional of the Armed Forces or private security, as well as shooting activities or medical tactics. The possibility of being captured and subjected to prolonged captivity more or less should be put into the account in the case of missions or activities in hot spots of the world. The program in Brunswick takes about 40 days, during which students are trained at every stage of the SERE.

None of them will be sent on a mission until he has successfully completed the course. It ‘important that everyone is able to deal with this kind of extreme situation, with clarity and with the competence that is required of every security professional. The SERE program teaches how to manage and survive in various stages of captivity, how to organize and plan an attempt to escape, how can you resist the delicate phase of the flight, to return to their lines and revise those ugly snouts of their colleagues.


OK. You have fallen into the hands of your enemies rather than in the hands of criminals operating in the cells of your operational expertise. What to do? First of all, YOU DECIDE TO SURVIVE. The motivation, the survival instinct, the desire to return to your homes, will be the catalyst that will ensure that you keep polishing the mind, recover from the inevitable stages of the initial shock, and begin to read data from the surrounding environment provides to develop two primary elements: Where I am, with who I am.

The SERE Student Handbook of U.S. Navy and Marine Corps wisely suggests processing the initial data and immediate THINK BEFORE YOU ACT. The primary data to be evaluated; After the shock of capture, first and foremost assess the current situation in which physical psycho you are. My muscles are still “active?”

Do they respond to stimuli despite some football or tossing taken away? My brain is activated? I have full possession of my faculties, and I am aware of the situation so that they can take the next few hours and put into practice what they sent me the damn course SERE instructors held a few months ago?

In addition, you will also have to deal with the delicate moment of acquaintance with the “new neighbors”. Not take long to be appreciated for their absolute lack of any human weakness or feeling of pity. Let me be clear from the outset. Command them, and will they do understand .. in one way or another. Usually do not have a sense of humor and patience exercised by us Latins, in many years of civilization greek-roman, not their virtues.

Lay immediately (or try to) a climate of absolute subjection, psychological and physical, of course. Be dependent in every way by them and by their decisions. Your cell will be a bare room without it. No windows, no beds, nothing. If you went well there is a bathroom with no door. On the contrary, there will be some shovelful of sand where you do get used to your needs, without being influenced by the looks of fellow prisoners or guards. Do not worry about odor.

After a short time, you will be glued on him and we do not anymore. You are alone. Maybe. It depends on the space available and the willingness of the kidnappers. Remember that segregation in solitary accelerates the loss of temporal knowledge, cycles of sleep and food. Keep faith in yourself. You must want to return for free. Make use of your senses to try to understand whether it is day or night, (fretted walls to see if one of them is exposed to the sun), try to figure out what kind of shifts the guards carry weapons and use.

If you are in the company of other prisoners, subdivide shifts waking and sleeping, so that one is always awake and can collect information on the movements that feel outside of the cell, the items that alternate beyond the door, the noise coming from the streets close to the place destined for captivity. In other words, try to organize a collection of information that might like to hear about when you try to give you evasion and escape. Eat up! If you are given the opportunity to consume something that can give you just one calorie misery, do it!

Remember that you have the obligation to maintain the highest possible level of energy that you use when you decided to escape. You will not be given a second chance, eat everything at once. If you’re not alone in his cell and is given food only to you, do not let scruples of consociational nature. Eat even if others are hungry and look at you. It ‘good that even one of the groups is able to provide its residual energy in favor of others. Do not let yourself get all hungry and not able to move the decisive steps to escape. Who is stronger, can help the rest of the company.

Do not store food or worse, do not hide it because if caught, you will be permanently removed from the guards. Always remember that the first objective of the guards is to keep the energy of the prisoners to a minimum so that no one is planning to implement any plan of invasion and escape. Tend to feed little and badly. Consumed all the same. Stress positions will be your fellow inmates. Squatting, kneeling, standing, leaning against a wall at an angle, forced to the ground in a fetal position, lying down for several hours on the same side and who has more imagination the more you invent.

Serve to pulping fabrics, develop lactic acid in the muscles, tendons and cartilage wear. In a nutshell serve to keep you glued to your cell, unable to move for joint pain and reduced ability to transport oxygen from the bloodstream. Not much to do but prepare adequately through a strict physical training during the months of preparation activities abroad. The stress position are part of the bouquet offered by the management of the prison and also serve to give an additional psychophysical shoulder the prisoner already weakened by hunger and lack of sleep, in view of the interrogation.

The sleep will be granted for a few hours and never feel when needed. So do the guards that sleep promotes the recovery of the organism, so its lack stuns the point of making slow movements, late reactions, yielding the spirits more adamant.

Strong light directed against your face are a form of torture effectively prevent you from sleeping, as well as loud music turned up full volume in the cell. Enjoy hours of sleep for granted assopirvi without giving thought to the situation. Sleep deeply and try to regain energy and strength. Start your day start to plan your escape. The interrogation is the highlight of imprisonment. The person in charge, or the inquisitor, will try to prove in most cases as the one who has the possibility of life and death over you, playing on the psychology of subordination in captivity.

You probably will friendly to you, promising liberty and fall at your family in exchange for information. Not show never alone, but always surrounded by a large group of well-armed men. On the desk there will be on his gun or his rifle, your documents (stolen at the time of abduction) and probably a few packs of cigarettes and a couple of bottles of water.

The selection of cigarette or water will be a way of approcciarvi, to put you at ease as much as possible and groped to break the ice with you. If you are military you know what to say in the event of an interrogation. Decline name, serial number and membership of armed force, appellandovi the Geneva Convention on prisoners of war. I give you a story. Your captors of the Geneva Convention does not matter a beloved.

Indeed, the response to such a request could be a laugh (if you do) or a kick that sbattervi off his chair. The asymmetric conflicts also involve asymmetric behavior. If you are not soldiers declined name, citizenship and employment. Follow the classic questions of who you really are and what you do in that particular country, that is not yours! Save time. Talk. Offer valid option, concerted un’ipotizzabile and plausible story that is not in contradiction with the circumstances in which you have been kidnapped (do not say that you are an NGO for children if you participated fully armed while scortavate a rich oil tankers). Try to save time and make you notionally available to work with them.

Probably kill you at the same time when they will not need you, so try to “cheat” showing that they are aware of more information than you actually have. NEVER, and I repeat, NEVER, to compete with your inquisitors. You will get nothing but trouble. Harden not to respond, to offer glacial silence or worse .. respond with some nice “fuck you”, will take you to suffer physical violence, beatings (the attempt to move as little as possible and try to ward off the blows as you can) and probably also some torture (which is useless to resist stoically, yell as you can) to the practice of corporal humiliation in public. If you want to avoid these real systems for annulment of personality that break down the morale and the physical, try to engage in a dialogue, as long as you can.

Do not sign blank forms or statements ready. Although in his homeland will be rightly interpreted as coerced and therefore not true, the flags will be flown to the jailers, who can take advantage of the local population, the cloak and reason of your pseudo-statements. The captors, however, are men. Your goal, from the time of capture through fulfillment, is to resist. In this case, the detection is useful weak element in the human chain that form the guards around you. Work of fineness (do a damn course of HUMINT and Psy-Ops) and try to drag the item identified by your side. Let him promises of rewards by your commands or your superiors, once outside. If I enticed and you’ll get more food, relevant information on the movements or decisions taken by the Heads of the cell that holds you prisoner, and ultimately will help you escape.


Flexibility is the watchword. Every moment is good, if the opportunity is ripe. You do not have the edge in order to assess when and how, or plan a new strategy. The first 24-36 hours are critical. If you can devise a plan of escape and flight, try to implement it within this time frame. The reasons are simple: you are still “fresh” and rested. Calculated if the evasion will sit alone or with the help of other companions. Find a leader who knows how to divide the tasks and manage the successive phases evasion. If no-one, do you. The important thing is to get out of your prison. You do not have time to take too many beatings by the guards, you do not have the weakness caused by hunger. (If you fight against a jailer, you will have the strength to deal with it, delete it and brace his gun or his rifle). In addition, the organization of shifts of the jailers is not yet a precision mechanism, you will be transported to a place far from where you were captured and most likely, the excitation due to the success of the kidnapping has effectively lowered a little guard organization that keeps relegated. Before you transferred in the most remote and safer (for them) and unknown to you, and before the clans organize and structure the prison itself, you should try to take advantage. But remember one thing well. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO RESUME. Once processed, give yourself to the bush to a radius of ten kilometers compared to your home in captivity. If you take up your end is almost taken for granted. It was just to give an example of inflexibility with other prisoners. Run away, run away, keeping you away from roads, pathways, and pastures with animals (dogs will sniff and look at their barking will attract people). Do not use the roads the most simple yet costruitevi a path through the woods is not beaten. Use the techniques of camouflage depending on the nature and move around in the dark.

Resistance and escape

Run. You have covered a distance of about 10 km. All right. Depending on the country where you are, if you decide to move during the day or at night. Calculate the moisture content, the heat and the consequent loss of energy. Get a fabbricatela any weapon or by means of luck. Obtain food and water. Looking for a geographical point that can help you get your bearings. (Before you go out of your base, it would be all well and good design, into the fabric of your pants, a small map of the area of ​​competence, showing the contour if in the mountain areas, or points of reference security (military bases, check-point, borders) at a fixed distance from known point.

Afterwards, let loose the memories of the last course of survival in hostile territory that you have sustained. believe that it is imperative for those who venture in certain contexts , learn territories, rivers, local geography, to recognize plants that can help your stay in a bush or fruit that can be toxic or indigestible if consumed, but beneficial when used as a disinfectant or antibacterial some of wound or laceration. know the techniques of survival in a desert, it helps not to literally die because of the heat, as well as to dig a shelter for the night, to find water in an oasis in a forest or in a strange plant quarry.

Be prepared to consume food for the occasion, and even insects (which have a lot of protein) or snakes, removing head and tail. You can work without food up to twenty days. Lack of water will kill you in a little over three . Ergo, you have to know where to look. warned build a shelter for the occasion using thorns, branches, rocks and foliage. Even on the run, a minimum rest could benefit, as well as it may catch from any sudden weather. Eventually, within two days you be able to identify the connecting roads between the areas of flight and near the city. Find half, rubatelo (excuse me, take a loan) and make sure you get to the nearest town. Cambiatevi clothes, take something premises in order to not give the eye immediately and go to a point of public safety. Your Odyssey has come to an end. welcome back. paraphrase the good old Sgt. Gunny … improvised, Adapt, you will reach your goal, you will be able to return at home!

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