CAMP SMITH, Hawaii --
“Is someone coming for me?” is the question a person would ask themselves if they were in a foreign country sitting in a dark cell for more than a week.
Personnel Recovery comes into play when anti-terrorism force protection fails.
U.S. Pacific Command is now requiring all U.S. Marines, Navy, Department of Defense civilians and contractors who are deploying or transiting through PACOM’s area of responsibility to complete Survival, Evasion, Resistance, & Escape 100 Level B, Code of Conduct Training as well as an Isolated Personnel Report upon check-in or no later than 30 days after checking in.
Master Gunnery Sgt. Charles Dechira, personnel recovery officer, Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, said the ISOPREP form consists of personal information questions, similar to the individual’s basic individual record, but will also have further questions. In the past, he said these questions have been used by service members for evasion plans if they were to become isolated.
“It [ISOPREPS] gives the recovery forces the ability, or an added tool, to assist in recovering the detained Marine or civilian, whether detained by terrorist or hostile government,” said Dechira.
Along with filling out the ISOPREP form, Marines will be required to coordinate with Combat Camera for a front and profile head and shoulder shot, which will be loaded into the individual’s ISOPREP.
The SERE portion of the program consists of a brief on what measures to take if a person is captured, taken hostage or become a government detainee and there expectations and responsibilities if captured.
Personnel Recovery is not new to the Marine Corps.
The Marine Corps utilizes Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel as a resource to affectively recover personnel and all components in the recovery.
“It’s been around awhile and was originally centered around aviators and reconnaissance individuals,” Dechira said. “You can look back to the Vietnam era when we had downed pilots, and we had rescue operations to pull them out of the jungle.”
Dechira said the program has been formalized and moved away from being air-centric, and has moved more toward the ground element due to recent events.
Dechira said during Operation Iraqi Freedom 3, there were at least 50 PR missions run, and the majority of those were all by ground forces with air support.
He also said the programs will affect everybody, starting from the top to the bottom.
“I Marine Expeditionary Force’s program is already up and running and it will also affect III MEF,” Dechira said. “It will also affect bases and stations in Japan, as well as MARFORPAC.”
Two examples of successful PR are the rescues of U.S. Army Pfc. Jessica Lynch and U.S. Air Force Capt. Scott O’Grady.
Although both missions were successful, Dechira said the O’Grady rescue presented issues which could have been prevented with better planning.
“The O’Grady rescue brought to light the inadequacies and the lack of command and control that almost resulted in catastrophic results,” Dechira said.
Due to the actions after the rescue, Dechira said the need for PR planning was greatly influenced.
Dechira said because we are evolving into a joint environment we need to look at all the components of PR.
Each command will have a personnel recovery representative, who will be responsible for making sure Marines are compliant with checking in and assist with any problems.
The SERE 100 training can be found at https//www.marinenet.usmc.mil (NIPR) or can be ordered on a compact disc athttp://dodimagery.afis.osd.mil/davis/.
The ISOPREPS are maintained in the Personnel Recovery Management System located athttps://prmsnatl.jpra.jfcom.smil.mil. To access ISOPREPS,
individuals must have access to the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network or have a representative present with access to SIPR.