Friday, June 11, 2010

My Baby Boy, the Survival Trainer

We are so proud and excited!  Our youngest son, Brandon, just found out he passed his final exam for SERE.  Brandon has been in this 6 month training program with the U.S. Air Force and now he will graduate next week.  SERE is a Special Ops course that stands for Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape.  They are a very specialized  part of the Air Force that very few men qualify for and even fewer make it all the way through the very intense physical and mental training.
Brandon graduated from Penn State with a BS in Hotel/Restaurant Management.  He worked in this field for a couple of years and decided this wasn't really what he wanted to do.  Well, that was a very expensive search in "finding yourself"!  I now believe it was worth it.  Brandon got married a year and a half ago to the beautiful Diana
and then decided he wanted to apply for the Air Force SERE program.  He qualified and passed all the entrance exams.  Brandon was a very good wrestler in high school and in very good physical condition still, so the physical qualifications were no problem.  
So then a little over a year ago, with a baby on the way, his new wife moved in with us and Brandon went off to Basic Training.  He graduated 2nd in his class of over 700 men and women and we couldn't have been more proud.  
Then off he, Diana, and now precious little Riley,
 moved to Spokane, Washington (clear across the country from us) to Fairchild Air Force Base.  The first of January  of this year he was one of 60 men that began their long, hard and vigorous SERE training program. 
This is the SERE Creed:

"I am a SERE Specialist...
I am an expert in Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape. I can survive anywhere in the world and prepare others to do the same. I prove myself by deed and action. I respect every warfighter and consider their needs before my own. I will remember that the lives of those I influence rest in my hands and if they fail the failure is mine alone. I will keep myself in top physical and mental condition, I will never tarnish the honor of fellow SERE Specialists, and I will accept no less from my peers. I do these things so they may:
'Return With Honor'"

If anyone is interested, following is video showing the training that these men go through.  I didn't see this video until about a month ago and I'm glad I didn't or I would have been that much more worried and stressed than my normal nature was anyway.
See video here

Now he's done.  26 of the 60 men that started out actually made it all the way through.  They not only have to be able to physically and mentally survive any situation, including torture, these men now also have to be able to train others to do the same.
Graduation ceremonies are next Friday at Fairchild Air Force Base and Bob and I will leave from Pittsburgh on Wednesday to be there.  We can't wait and are so excited.  Brandon will received his special gray beret worn only by SERE  Specialists. 
We're also very excited to see one year old walking now Riley, and the beautiful 6-1/2 month pregnant again Diana.  They have also moved into a bigger 3 bedroom house that we haven't seen yet.
And once again, we couldn't be more proud!


Rebecca said...

Oh...congrats to your son, Brandon, my son's name is Brandon, too! He also spent three years in the Air Force... Changed his life for the GOOD!

I always love my visits. Thanks for the plug on my giveaway.

Love to you~Rebecca

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Wow, your life is full of wonderful things. Congratulations to your son on his remarkable achievement. And it's great that you'll be able to spend time with that beautiful family including the fabulously adorable Riley.

Grandma J said...

Oh Nina, I'm so excited for you. What a wonderful accomplishment for Brandon. You must be bursting with pride.

Have a good time, take pictures, hold that little princess, Riley, and savor every moment with the three of them.

Oh, don't forget the tissues!!

DJan said...

You have every reason to be proud and honored to be the mother of such an accomplished young man. He didn't get there without the values and upbringing that you gave me, though. Congratulations, Nina!

Sandy said...

I can feel your pride in your post! Congrats on your sons accomplishments!
My son is a Lt.USCG.. he spent his first 5 years jumping out of a chopper saving people, then went to "OT" school... now in charge of 'Sea Ports" around America.. in fact he is working on the "Gusher In the Gulf"... We moms are proud but they take our grandchildren with them! I have three little boys who live a million miles away!
Really nice post!

Theresa said...

Oh Nina, I am so proud for you and Bob, for Brandon and Diana! I am happy that he made it and that you will be there to see the graduation. It sounds like the perfect time for you to see that precious angel, Riley! Happy day, sure to be a happy day! HUGS!

StitchinByTheLake said...

My goodness, you are right to be proud! I cannot imagine how difficult that must be - the training I mean. And difficult for his family to know that he is doing that as well. But this country needs men like him and we will be eternally grateful for his sacrifices to be the best. blessings, marlene

Holly Renee said...

Congratulations! How amazing! You have every reason to be proud. Beautiful pic as well.

Lily Robinson said...

My goodness! Did I know she was pregnant? I don't remember that. Congrats!

And you have every right to be proud of the man you raised. Yes, the special forces go through a lot we'd rather not know about...

Grandma Becky said...

Congratulations to Brandon finishing such a tough training. I can only imagine how tough it was. I was in the Air Force 4 years and wouldn't trade my experience for the world. Have a safe trip. Too bad it the base isn't closer to us or I'd pop over to see you, well maybe, cuz I know you are busy. Sounds like a fun time to visit and another grandbaby on the way. Us too! Take care!

Anonymous said...

Wow! SERE training is VERY hard. I am in the military so I am familiar with what goes on in it although I've never been in the actual resident training. Good for him!


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