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SERE training detachment gains new commander

By 1st Lt. Kayshel Trudell | Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs | June 7, 2019


Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape specialists and their friends, family and fellow Airmen gathered at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland June 7 to witness the symbolic passing of the guidon, as Lt. Col. Patrick Graham transferred the authority and responsibility of leading Det. 3 of the 66th Training Squadron to Maj. Toby Andrews.


Lt. Col. Andrew Berven, 66th Training Squadron commander, who presided over the change of command ceremony, spoke of his appreciation for Graham, who led Det. 3 to a number of milestone achievements.


“Your command tour will go down in the record books,” Berven said. “You have been an inspirational leader, an Airman’s Airman who touched lives. You handled everything we threw at you with grace, professionalism, courage and level-headedness and inspired those under your command.”  


Prior to relinquishing command, Graham, who is headed to 366th Training Support Squadron at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, took the opportunity to address his team one last time.  


“It has been an absolute honor to serve as your commander,” Graham said. “This team’s constant dedication, unwavering drive to operate effectively and ability to consistently excel has been impressive. Being part of this awe inspiring enterprise the last two years has truly shown me what it means to be prepared to ‘Returning with Honor.’ Thank you.”


Before Andrews addressed his team for the first time as Det. 3 commander, Berven took a moment to convey the trust and confidence he has in him to take the reins and continue to move the detachment forward.


“[Andrews] brings a wealth of knowledge that will directly translate into the SERE mission,” Berven said. “I have full faith in you and your abilities, and will always trust and empower you as you take the helm today.”


In his first address to his new unit, Andrews relayed his admiration for both the Airmen in the unit and its mission.


“I am humbled to have been entrusted to lead such a unique and elite team of specialists,” Andrews said. “This team is inspiring and each of you heroic. The delicate way you balance training America’s warfighters who are heading into harm's way and training the future of the SERE community is the embodiment of excellence. Thank you for this opportunity to serve alongside you.”


A pilot, Andrews has flown the UH-1N Twin Huey, HH-60G Pave Hawk, UH-1 Huey helicopters and the T-6A Texan II throughout his career. Andrews graduated from the University of Miami in 2006 and earned a master's degree in criminal justice from the University of Cincinnati in 2010.


Det. 3 is a diverse group consisting of SERE specialists, individual duty medical technicians, psychology specialists, and contractors. It is responsible for two main missions: supplying quality SERE specialist candidates to the career field’s training pipeline and teaching military and civilian personnel with high risk of isolation or capture the skills they need to survive in any environment or situation.


Roughly 6,000 students cycle through Det. 3 annually to attend either the four-day Evasion and Conduct after Capture SERE level B training course, or to test their aptitude for joining the career field at the 15-day SERE Specialist Training Orientation Course.


For more information about SERE, visit https://www.gosere.af.mil/.