What is SERE? S.E.R.E stands for survive, evade, resist, and escape! Simply put it is surviving in a hostile combat like environment where an enemy force is out to get you. So it is survival in stealth mode and on the move! The first step in any type of SERE training is the ability to survive in an urban or wilderness environment with nothing but some basic tools and your mind. It doesn’t matter how many tools you actually have because your mind is always the sharpest instrument you have to work with and should be the first thing that is prepared. In a wilderness environment you will have to be able to live off the land and do it in a stealthy manner that would not give away your presence. To be able to do this efficiently you need to be well trained and skilled in the basics. First thing to remember is to never be seen, EVER! That is the first mistake most people make is to move to quickly through hostile areas when no one is directly chasing you. You should move slowly to begin with until you know for sure you are out of hostile areas. The only time you should not follow that rule is when you are coming from a downed bird or some type of incident where the enemy knows you are there and they are sending patrols to your location. In a situation where they are on your tail then your best bet is to move fast and constantly change directions until safe. Pay attention to your surrounding and always go the path of most resistance where you are least likely to run into someone, unless you think friendly forces are potentially in the area. You should move slow and constantly be scanning the outer reaches of your eyesight for potential ambush points or signs of human movement.
Pay attention to the wildlife in your area to see if any of the birds are acting strangely and outside their baseline behavior. If you notice that one section of the woods is completely quite and another is brimming with life and movement, then it is usually a safe bet that the areas where animals are most active will be the areas least filled with potential enemies. Birds are very aware of body language and energy levels in humans and when the atmosphere is charged with people that are not of the baseline then they will act accordingly to that negative stimulus. So pay attention to the birds!
When stopping to setup camp you should be extremely mindful of the sign you leave behind. Everything must be stealthy and if you must have a fire do it in something like a Dakota fire pit. Put everything back just like you found and make no disturbances. Shelters should mainly be made in somewhat natural shelters unless there are no other options. Less is more in this situation. If it necessary to gather food from the landscape then try to do as much of it on the move as possible. Gather wild edibles and eat them as you go. Bugs and small fish a relatively easy to get and are packed with tons of calories and nutrients. Before night time carve simple traps like pauite deadfalls and carry the triggers with you on the move. Set these traps out over night and retrieve the triggers in the morning.
Evasion is very important because without evasion skills you will likely be caught. So learn to move wisely through the landscape in a zig zag pattern and change your direction consistently. If you are heading north then don’t just move on a straight line. Move north for a mile or so and then change headings a move east for half a mile and then resume your north heading again. Every so often find an open area where you can view your trail from a distance and watch to see if anyone is tracking you.
If you find that someone is tracking you then this is where the resistance portion kicks into play. Resistance comes in many forms and is dependent upon your equipment. If you have weaponry then it is possible to setup guerilla style ambushes where you hit and run. This is especially useful technique if you are a sniper or someone trained in long distance shooting. This will slow the enemy down and allow you to gain ground. If direct contact is not an option then you should then proceed with setting man traps. Types of traps are dependent upon terrain but deadfalls set on trip wires are your best bet in most areas. And where there is no canopy, then you should proceed to constructing pit traps. Trapping humans is very much like trapping animals except you must be far more crafty. Bait should be used if available, such as any un-needed equipment that can be left behind with traps and is either attached to it or nearby on the path to get to it! They should be completely unseen from the approaching enemies expected direction if they are above ground.
Finally there is the escape portion which may include you walking a very long distance over very tough terrain. If you are in a combat zone and you are not found within a certain period of time then the search may be called off and you will be forced to find your own way out. Soldiers have been known to walk hundreds of miles through hostile enemy territory before finding there way to friendly forces! Keep your eye out and don’t approach anyone unless you know they are friendly because in this day and age you never know who the enemy is unless they are wearing your uniform. Watch these videos below to get a better idea of what SERE is all about!