RAF St Mawgan, commanded by a Wing Commander, is a No 22 (Training) Group Station and is situated 5 miles Northeast of Newquay.
In 2008 military flying operations ceased and RAF St Mawgan became the home of the Defence Survive, Evade, Resistance, Extraction (SERE) Training Organisation, locally referred to as DSTO. As such the primary role of RAF St Mawgan is to provide administrative support to the SERE and ensure the delivery of up to 5000 SERE trained personnel per annum in support of current operations.
2.0 Defence Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Extraction (SERE) Training Organisation
The Defence Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Extraction (SERE) Training Organisation (DSTO) has been based at RAF St Mawgan since December 2008; it is a Tri-Service organisation formed by the co-location of the RN and RAF survival schools and the Resistance Training Wing.
DSTO works in support of the defence mission by delivering operationally focussed SERE training to members of all 3 Services, deploying overseas on operations. Personnel travelling overseas will receive relevant pre-deployment training dependant on their role to ensure their safety and ability to operate effectively, and to maximise their chances of survival if separated from their units, on land and at sea. Whilst the DSTO has maintained a strong focus on deployed operations, it also delivers basic land and maritime survival training to ensure that Tri-Service aircrew maintain the survival skills in order to continue to fly in support of operations.
The DSTO has training teams comprised of approximately 100 permanent staff from the RN, RM, RAF and the British Army, and are tasked with delivering approximately 23 different types of courses throughout the year, training some 5,000 service personnel. Training is delivered in the local area, elsewhere in the UK and abroad.
Whilst the focus is on running courses, DSTO continues the development of SERE training to ensure it continues to meet the needs of the UK Military on current and future operations. Demand for SERE training within the military is growing, and DSTO adapts to meet this requirement.
The RAF and RN have a rich heritage in survival training, and it is their experience in SERE training that led to the formation of the DSTO in its current guise. The British Army, however, add vast experience in specific land elements of survival as it is closely aligned to skills at the core of soldiering, along with experience in the training of Special Forces personnel.