"What does it take to make the cut?" Cadre from the SERE Specialist Screening Course describe what it takes to make it through the three-week course.
From USAF SERE Facebook page:
"What Does it Take to Make the Cut?"
First off, in regards to making the cut each candidate must understand that training will not be easy. The SERE Pipeline will probably be the toughest challenge of your life.
Second, not everyone is cut out to be a SERE Specialist in the Air Force. There is no crystal ball to identify 100% who will graduate the SERE Tech School. However, successful candidates generally display some common traits and during training candidates will be constantly assessed on the following; time management, comm. skills, teamwork, work ethic/motivation, adaptability, professionalism, reasoning, detailed oriented, stress management, maturity, and physical condition. We've had exceptional woodsmen, triathletes, and hardnosed individual’s fall by the wayside. We have also seen candidates that had lived in an urban environment all their life rise to the top. The key is to meet each challenge head on, deal with it, and consider yourself better for overcoming the obstacle.
Third, as discussed multiple times on this FB page, physical preparation has to be at the top of the list to increase the prospect of making the cut. So much is linked to your physical condition; everything from having the energy to complete a day of workouts to overcoming the psychological challenges of burning the midnight oil to complete assignments. Besides the PAST test, our biggest loss comes from SIE’s or Self-Initiated Elimination where candidates quit. You must go into the SERE Pipeline thinking there is no other option but to graduate.
Fourth, the other losses come from Disqualifications (DQ’s), where candidates fail to progress in training due to a number of reasons. However, there is a common thread that links most of the DQs. The link is not following guidance that is briefed in detail, demonstrated many times, and written down in a Student Handout. You need to ASK QUESTIONS when you don’t understand, take detailed notes, and follow through with the feedback provided. Candidates also struggle with managing their time and become distracted to the point where they rush trying to complete a project at the last minute. Phone calls, electronic games, and TV are the biggest shiny objects distracting our candidates. Prioritize your day, take care of assignments first following the standards provided, and then reward yourself with a phone call, etc… The best way to prove you want to be a SERE Specialist is not through your words, but your actions. "Show Me, Don’t Tell Me” is our unofficial motto.
As a future candidate, you will need to add ruck preparation to your training. During the initial course at Lackland you will be need to be able to carry a 60lb ruck for 4 miles in under 60 minutes. You will be tested on a somewhat level surface. Start your training with a lower weight, such as 25-30 lbs. to let your body become accustomed to carrying the extra weight. Increase the weight in increments to avoid injury. No running or shuffling allowed, but just a faster walk. The average ruck time is approximately 53-55 minutes to complete the 4 miles.
Note: this video shows several members shuffling, or breaking a stride that would not be considered walking. Shuffling or running is no longer allowed at the time of this posting. Candidates need to practice walking faster, and lengthening stride, on a regular basis.