The SERE course completed at the 16th "Force Protection" wing

(To air Force)

From 4 to 16 February, at the training areas of the 16th "Force Protection" wing of Martina Franca (TA), 18 visitors including flight personnel, on-board operators, FARP operators and air riflemen, coming from various departments of the Air Force participated in the SERE course (Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Extraction). 

The activity, organized by the STO/FP training group (Survive To Operate / Force Protection), a national aeronautical training and training hub in the force protection for air operations sector, took place under the supervision of the mobility and support forces command, a department superordinate to the wing. 

The training event involved a significant logistical commitment and a great organizational effort which involved the entire wing and, in the final phase, also other support personnel from different departments, in addition to the HH-139 helicopters provided by the 84th SAR center (Search and Rescue) from Gioia del Colle belonging to the 15th wing of Cervia. In this context, the SERE instructors and trainers, together with other highly qualified personnel of the 16th wing, transferred to the attendees the knowledge necessary to deal with the different and possible situations of isolation and resistance to interrogation, followed by intense training – including “river crossing” activities, “mountain climbing” and tactical topographic marches – aimed at providing the knowledge essential for survival in a hostile environment, up to the recovery of personnel in difficulty, according to the highest educational/training standards.

In a training context organized in constant and full compliance with all the physical safety and health control measures of the attending staff, static phases and dynamic phases alternated during which, applying the survival techniques learned, the trainees worked for several days on unknown terrain, without any kind of aid, but constantly monitored by the instructors.

The activity represented a valuable training opportunity, allowing them to experience, in a realistic way, the conditions of isolation, escape and capture that they could encounter in real operations and to verify and manage the psycho-physical stress that they entail.

The SERE courses, training excellence expressed by the Air Force, offer a precious opportunity for interaction and maintenance of operational capabilities combat e combat support as well as a moment of growth and acquisition of survive to operate skills for attendees.

The 16th wing, Air Rifles department, has been based on the Martina Franca (TA) base since 2004 and depends hierarchically on the forces command for mobility and support.
The main task of the 16th wing is to ensure, in compliance with the assigned readiness levels, the operation of the specialist components of force protection for air operations, to guarantee assistance in the protection of personnel, weapon systems, vehicles and materials, as well as areas, grounds and infrastructures of particular interest to the Armed Forces, located on the national territory or abroad.

Since 2004 it has operated in 37 different international missions, in 20 operational theaters around the world, accumulating over 36 thousand flight hours, of which 25 thousand for the safety of Air Force aircraft and their crews. From August 2005 to December 2014, the Air Rifles were present in Afghanistan to ensure the protection of the Herat base.

The War Flag of the 16th "Force Protection" wing was decorated with a Gold and a Silver Medal for Aeronautical Valor by the President of the Republic.