Story by Cpl. Ryan D. Libbert
Note: The Marine Corps does not have a single location with regard to SERE Training. The Marines perform SERE training at various Marine Corps installations throughout the world.
CAMP GONSALVES, Okinawa, Japan — In the particular northern jungles of Okinawa there are a group of individuals stranded, without the help of food, water, shelter as well as the basic necessities required to survive. They are tired, hungry and looking towards going home at the end of their challenge.
This may sound like an show of “Survivor,” and in a sense it really is. But instead of contestants, the people participating are U. S. Marines and there isn’t a million-dollar prize by the end.
Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape training (SERE) is held month-to-month at the Jungle Warfare Training Center at Camp Gonsalves.
According in order to Staff Sgt. Clinton J. Thomas, chief instructor at JWTC, the objective of the course is to teach Marines the skills they need should they become divided from their units in a combat area and must survive off the property while evading the enemy.
“We focus more on the survival and evasion portions of the course more so than we do with resistance and escape,” the Grand Rapids, Michigan, indigenous said. “We teach them enough to survive on their own in the Okinawan jungle. If you can do that, you can survive just about anywhere.”
The 12-day training course is broken down into three stages: classroom instruction, survival and forestalling.
During the first three times, Marines are put in a class room environment where the instructors teach all of them the basics of survival. They are usually taught how to identify and capture food, build tools, start fire and construct shelter.
The success phase takes place on a seaside where the Marines put the training these people received to use by surviving by themselves for five days with only a knife, a canteen as well as the camouflage utility uniforms on their shells.
The last phase of the training course is four days long as well as the Marines are broken into groups of four to five men. The groups must stay on the move through the particular muddy and tangled jungle to prevent being captured by students through the man-tracking course.
“We’ve built our own POW (prisoner-of-war) camp where we stick the students if they are captured,” Thomas mentioned. “They’re forced to wear the POW uniforms we made and the instructors interrogate and attempt to pry information from them to test their resistance level. We set them loose after several hours so they don’t spend the entire evasion period in the POW camp.”
During their time in the particular POW camp, Marines are exposed to forced labor such as digging ditches, filling sandbags and cutting wooden. They are also put in a small three-foot squared cube-like cell where these are tempted with food to give up info.
While evading capture, the Marines are given free range to move anyplace they like within JWTC’s 20, 000-acre training grounds. When night time draws near, they are instructed to locate a “safe zone” where the captors are not permitted to enter. If able to reach the particular safe zone, the students could get five to six hours associated with sleep per night. If they cannot find the zone, they are still susceptible to capture and may get only a few hrs of sleep if any whatsoever.
The average student loses 12-15 pounds while going through the training course. During their time in the field they have to rely on the nutrition given to all of them through natural food sources within the jungle, such as plant roots, snakes, insects and fish.
Participating college students learn to get through the torment associated with starvation and weariness by keeping motivated and appreciating what they are dealing with.
“I thought the survival part was very interesting, ” mentioned Lance Cpl. Daniel L. Pendergast, rifleman with 1st battalion, 25th Marine Regiment now assigned in order to 4th Marine Regiment. “I’m not really used to catching my own food and obtaining or building my own shelter. The course has shown me where our limits are as far as how long I could go without food.