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Previously known as the Shorty Social Good Awards, the Shorty Impact Awards is an awards program created to raise global awareness around the positive impact brands, agencies and non-profits can have on society.

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From the 12th Annual Shorty Awards

U.S. Air Force SERE Challenge

Finalist in Government & Politics

About this entry

Special Ops Airmen are some of the hardest to recruit because of the physical and mental stamina required for the job. While typical recruits might shy away from the intense physical and mental aspects of training, it is the job of Special Ops Airmen to be mentally tougher, physically stronger and ardently committed to serving our country and protecting our freedom.

In addition to Special Ops, the Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape (SERE) career field is even less well known. SERE Specialists are responsible for training Airmen at a higher risk of isolation how to survive and evade the enemy should the mission not go as planned. The majority of potential recruits, however, don’t typically think of the Air Force when they think of Special Ops or combat support. Navy SEALs, Army Rangers/Green Berets, Marine MARSOC, etc., typically come to mind first.

The campaign’s objective was to increase awareness and consideration of Air Force Special Operations and combat support careers by showing the physical and mental requirements needed to become Special Ops Airmen and SERE Specialists—through the eyes of trusted, highly followed social influencers.

Why does this entry deserve to win?

In November 2018, the U.S. Air Force invited three civilians to participate in a full, immersive day of pararescue training at Kirtland Air Force Base. Until this campaign, civilians had never been invited to participate in such an extensive, immersive day of Special Ops training. Using artificial intelligence, three fitness influencers were identified for the challenge. The three influencers—Frank Medrano (@frank_medrano), Scott Mathison (@scott_mathison_) and Bethany Shadburne (@bethanycf)—arrived in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to test their skills and see if they had what it takes to join the best and brightest.

The training consisted of the below schedule:

0330 Wake-up call
0430 Arrival at Kirtland training facility
0530 Workout with pararescuemen
0630 Combatives training
0730 Break for hygiene/fuel and combatives debrief
0900 Medical training
1000 Shoot house simulation
1100 Break and transit to mission simulation location
1200 Mission simulation
1400 Mission debrief

For the mission simulation, the three influencers were deployed to a simulated war zone to rescue wounded Airmen amidst gunfire and transport them back to safety with minimal help from the Air Force Pararescuemen. Following the mission, each influencer was awarded an Air Force call sign patch. The final campaign consisted of six total videos (two per influencer) optimized for Instagram and six Instagram Stories (two per influencer) that documented the influencers’ experience at pararescue training.

A few months later, we expanded the campaign to include combat support careers and established the #AFSEREChallenge. SERE Specialists are experts at surviving in the most remote and hostile environments on the planet. It’s up to them to make sure that when a mission doesn’t go as planned, the Airmen involved are trained and ready for anything.

Three outdoor/adventure, survival and camping Instagram influencers—Rory Kramer (@rorykramer), Allie D’Andrea (@outdoors_allie) and Andrew Muse (@andrew_muse)—joined U.S. Air Force SERE Specialists for a full day of SERE training at Lackland Air Force Base.

The training consisted of the below schedule:

0430 Wake-up call
0530 Arrive at Lackland Air Force Base
0630 Mission briefing
0715 Uniform issue
0745 One-mile ruck
0845 Survival training (fire, shelter, navigation, food procurement)
1100 SERE Challenge simulation
1500 Mission debrief

Following the survival training, the influencers began the SERE Challenge where they were required to navigate through the Texas wilderness, set up shelter, start a fire and reach their final destination, all only with minimal supervision from a SERE Specialist, a map and compass.

The final campaign consisted of six total Instagram-optimized videos (two per influencer) and six Instagram Stories (two per influencer) that documented the influencers’ experience at SERE training.

The final campaign consisted of six total Instagram-optimized videos (two per influencer) and six Instagram Stories (two per influencer) that documented the influencers’ experience at SERE training.

Results

The #AFSpecialOps Challenge resulted in the following for the Air Force Recruiting Service:

The #AFSEREChallenge resulted in the following for the Air Force Recruiting Service:

The results for both the #AFSpecialOpsChallenge and the #AFSEREChallenge totaled:

Media

Video for U.S. Air Force SERE Challenge

Produced by

GSD&M, U.S. Air Force

Links

Entry Credits