USAF Survival Training



First aircrew survival school started in August 1947 at Marks AFB near Nome, AK

Called Arctic Indoctrination School with primary mission to train aircrews exposed to harsh arctic environment

Similar training school started at Ladd AFB, AK (now Ft Wainwright) which concentrated on land survival

Marks AFB school consolidated at Ladd AFB in Nov 1948 placing both arctic and land survival training under one roof

General Curtis LeMay, CINCSAC, believed that with proper training in environmental and situational survival, the Air Force could decrease aircrew losses during conflicts

Concern grew out of WWII experience where 124,079 Army and Army Air Corps personnel were captured and interned

Convinced of a critical need for escape and evasion program for SAC, LeMay directed the Escape & Evasion Branch to develop a program

"Plan for Evasion and Escape, Training and Operations" submitted to HQ USAF in July 1949

Air Staff did not support LeMayís ideas on survival, therefore SAC decided to develop and fund its own survival training for SAC aircrews

Gen LeMay directed the establishment of 3904th Training Squadron at Camp Carson, Colorado on 16 Dec 49

Chosen because surrounding terrain resembled Soviet Union

Close cooperation with US Army, US Forestry Service and Colorado Fish & Game Commission expected


By 1952, the demand for training from other Air Force commands exceeded the capacity of Camp Carsonís limited training areas and a new location was required

By July 1952, the 3904th Composite Wing moved to Reno Air Base (later renamed Stead)

Location afforded training in Sierra Nevada mountains as well as hot, bleak, treeless environment south of the base

Air Force realignment made Stead AFB and the survival school part of Air Training Command on 1 Sep 54

Training activities transferred to the 3635th Combat Crew Training Wing (Survival)

Major curriculum changes occurred in 1957 with the inclusion of the newly developed Fighting Manís Code of Conduct which outlined the basic responsibilities and obligations of member of the Armed Forces

Resistance training had been conducted since the schoolís inception


On March 15, 1966, ATC designated the 3636th Combat Crew Training Group (Survival) as the sole manager of Air Force survival training

Courses taught by this new wing included:

  • Survival Training (Long Course), S-V80-A
  • Survival Instructor Training, S-V81-A
  • Combined Services Support Program, S-V82-A
  • Special Survival Training, S-V83-A
  • Combative Measures Instructor Training, S-V84-A
  • Survival Training (Southeast Asia), S-V85-A

On June 30, 1966, Survival School moved to Fairchild AFB, WA resuming training at the former Deep Creek Air Force Station

In addition to survival training at Fairchild, Tactical Air Command operated Sea Survival School at Homestead AFB, FL and the Tropical Survival School at Albrook AFB, Panama

PACAF opened the Jungle Survival School at Clark AB, RP on 3 Jul 67 to support activities in Southeast Asia


The proliferation of survival courses resulted in the Air Staff directing consolidation of all survival training by mid-1971 under 3636th Combat Crew Training Group

Prior to consolidation, over 100 land and water survival and life support continuation schools were spread throughout the Air Force

First women entered survival training in August 1970, by 1995 3336 women had graduated from the course

The first woman survival instructor graduated in 1977

On 1 Apr 71, the Survival School was redesignated the 3636th Combat Crew Training Wing (CCTW) which lead to the formation of the world-wide (global) concept of survival training

  • Basic Global Survival (S-V80, 81, 82) taught at Fairchild by the 3612th Combat Crew Training Squadron (CCTS)
  • Arctic Survival School (S-V87-A) taught at Eielson AFB, AK by Det 1
  • Jungle Survival School (S-V88-A) taught at Clark AB by 3614 CCTS
  • Water Survival School (S-V86-A) taught at Homestead AFB, FL by 3613 CCTS

Tropic Survival School in Panama under the special survival training caveat

End of Vietnam conflict saw Jungle Survival School at Clark close in Apr 75 and Tropic Survival School at Albrook AFS, Panama close in Jun 75

In 1975 a new water survival course (S-V90-A) was established at Fairchild for crewmembers who did not use parachutes as a primary means of escaping an aircraft

Course resulted in TDY costs savings and a decrease in the student load at Homestead AFB

On 20 Jun 76, Det 2, 3636 CCTW established at Nellis AFB, NV to assist in planning and conducting Search and Rescue (SAR) and Escape and Evasion (E&E) exercises

Deactivated 15 Mar 85


In Apr 81 the ATC IG recommended review of the wingís organization lead to the establishment of the 3614 CCTS to conduct water survival training (non-parachuting) and survival instructor training course

On 1 Oct 86 the Special Survival Training Course (S-V83-A) and the Combined Services Support Program (S-V82-A) were transferred to the newly formed Det 2, Air Force Intelligence Service


Hurricane Andrewís destruction of Homestead AFB, FL forced the relocation of water survival training to Tyndall AFB FL in Nov 92

Under the new AF objective wing structure, the 3636 CCTW was redesignated the 336th Crew Training Group (CTG) on 28 Jan 93

Additionally the 336th Training Support Squadron was activated and the 3612th, 3613th, and 3614th CCTS were redesignated the 22nd, 17th, and 66th Crew Training Squadrons (CTS) respectively

On 1 Jul 93 the Air Force redesignated ATC the Air Education and Training Command (AETC) and activated 19th Air Force to oversee all flying and survival training

On the same day the 36th Rescue Flight with 4 UH-1N helicopters was assigned to the group

On 1 Apr 94 the 336 CTG was redesignated the 336th Training Group (TRG) with the squadrons changing from CTS to Training Squadrons (TRS)

17 TRS moved to Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola, FL in Jun 94 as part of an ITRO decision to streamline water survival training

On 1 October 95 the Air Force transferred 17TRS launch and pickup boats to the Navy

On 2 Jan 97 the 336th Training Groupís unit at Eielson was redesignated, Detachment 1, 66th Training Squadron. The 17 TRS, NAS Pensacola was redesignated Detachment 2 of that same squadron

Since 1966 the Survival School has trained 330,139 personnel in 10 different survival courses; combat survival training (S-V80A) has graduated 137,236 students

Code Of Conduct