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  • Writer's pictureDavid Connolly

Barren Land Arctic Survival Training

You’re on a plane that goes down in the Arctic. There is nothing but snow and ice as far as you can see. What do you do? And how do you survive?

The US Air Force has a course for that. In a 4-day, 3-night exercise, a mobile training team of Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape instructors, known as SERE specialists, hit the wavetops (er, ice caps?). A repeat customer, the New York Air National Guard’s 109th Airlift Wing calls the training Barren Land Arctic Survival Training, or BLAST camp for short. Because the 109th owns the only 10 ski-equipped LC-130 cargo planes in the world, its aircrews fly America’s missions to both poles.

For that reason, the Guardsmen need to know how to survive if one of their skiplanes goes down over the Arctic or Antarctic, Earth’s coldest and emptiest regions.

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