The Defense Helicopter Command at Gilze Rijen Air Base was host to the international Air Centric Personnel Recovery Operatives Course (APROC) from 23 May to 6 June. The course is an initiative by the European Personnel Recovery Center (EPRC). This was the first time that the course took place in the Netherlands.
What is Personnel Recovery?
To understand what the course is about, we must first find out what Personnel Recovery, or PR actually is. Countries have a moral obligation to take care of their people. But besides the moral obligation, PR can also have a negative impact on operational security, morale of assigned forces and public opinion. The NATO definition of isolated personnel is if you do not have control over your situation.
Course Director LTC. Bart Holewijn explains with an example: “If your car flipped over because you slipped on a slippery road, you are essentially isolated because you do not have control over your own situation. You drive up in the winter to northern Sweden, and you get into an event like this you can die simply because of the cold, you can freeze to death unless you have taken proper precautions. And this is without having an enemy threat.” To prepare personnel for an event where the get isolated, they train in Survive, Evade, Resist, Extract (SERE). This training consists of tactics, techniques, and procedures that will give isolated personnel the tools to survive in any environment and to evade capture where such a threat exists. And if they get captured, they are taught to resist exploitation by captors and, if the situation permits, escape captivity to finally be recovered and return with dignity.