On my final interview, and have a few question for NA:SE


I have had the good fortune off passing all the stages of the application process so far and I am on my final stage the rating interview.

I have applied to be NA(survival equipment). I just have a few questions, I have done a search but come up trumps.

So I was wondering do NASE actually get deployed anywhere or go on operations? I have a frightening feeling I will be in a box room in a RNAS fixing life jackets for up to 16 years and won't have any experiences of serving on any ships. And do SE have different departments one side fixes gear, one side teaches survival skills, or does it all go on experience, as in you work your way up to doing survival teaching and briefing, or does it rotate.

I know at the interview they will ask me what aspect i'm keen todo in my chosen branch and i was wondering are NA:SE involved in any of these: the underwater escape training unit in Yeovilton or the Maritime Aviation Support Force in Culdrose or looking after equipment for the search and rescue sea kings in Culdrose.

And what are these dhoby bags I keep seeing in the search lol??

i know I'm not expected to know the ins and outs of the branch for my interview but I'd like a greater understanding what happens after I'm signed off from phase two.

thanks for any help.


War Hero
Most flights have an SE lad to look after the life rafts on the helicopter, even on 42s we had one.

When he wasn't helping out with flight stuff, he'd go and help the buffer sorting out life jackets and what not.


War Hero
When talking of carriers, HMS Ocean etc, generally each squadron will have a tame SE bod attached to it. The bigger squadrons may have a couple. When the squadron embarks the SE blokes blob up and take care of all of the squadrons' gear, while concentrating on their own squadron's stuff ahead of the others. This is particularly so with the fixed wing SE, who will have different requirements for looking after oxygen masks, 'g' suits etc. If I pilot needs, for instance, a new goon bag then he'll go and talk to the squadron SE guy who'll either make it up himself or, when embarked, liaise with others in the section to ensure things progress when he's off watch. It's more personal on board and the pilots will 99% of the time go directly to the squadron SE fitter.

When the squadron disembarks the SE bods go to the Station SE Section and become much more generalised in their work. Although squadrons will naturally gravitate towards 'their' guy, if they want something done they're supposed to go through the Station. Once back on land the SE guys will find themselves more compartmentalised for periods of time. For example, rather than doing lots of things like fitting helmets, 'g' suits, maintaining life jackets etc, you'll find yourself making up goon bags for a while, then in the life raft bay for a bit and so on. If you are attached to a squadron then your Divisional Officer (DO) will be on that squadron and he's the person that's going to deal with your advancement, punishment etc but on a day-to-day basis the SE Section's Boss is your immediate chain of command and it's he who will detail your work (or at least his delegates will).

Survival training is really a separate entity. Of course, when doing dinghy drills there will be SE fitters there to take care of the gear but they won't actually be doing any instructing; they will, however, assist the instructors. The instructors will be SURVOs and will have undergone a separate course for teaching and refreshing pilots for their sea and pool drills using the life jackets, dinghies etc. The Dunker instructors will have done additional training for that role. Generally each squadron will have a SURVO but they normally just make sure everyone is in date for all their drills, as opposed to getting involved with them. Occasionally they'll have to sort out drills to keep everyone current, for instance when embarked on a lengthy deployment, but it is normal for the squadron SURVO to liaise with the station SURVO, who will organise a pool or sea day to run the aircrew through the drills. The SE fitters will help with pool drills, dragging the aircrew through the water, chcuking buckets of water on them while they're in their dinghies etc but they won't actually be instructing. Normally the squadron SURVO will be an officer and will be the DO for any SE rating attached to the squadron. The SURVOs who instruct the pool drills etc are normally senior rates, themselves SE fitters who have done the SURVOs course and they are overseen by the Station SURVO who is normally an SD officer.

The final layer in the cake is the combat survival, survival exercises etc. These are run by Combat Survival Instructors who have carried out really quite a specialised course. Once again, SE ratings will be involved with the equipment side of things but they will definitely not be instructing in this field. Most CSIs are officers, who enjoy Bootneck-type activities and it used to be part of the CSI's course to do the AACC before kicking off on the rest of the training, which used to involve all sorts of mucking around with the blokes at Hereford and RM Poole. I have no idea if this is now the case but, at the end of the day, combat survival training is something you will not be involved in until you're a senior rate and the only rating I've ever seen as a CSI was a CPO, so it's not something you'll do any time soon.

Hope that's some help but I'm afraid I can't help with smaller ships. I do know they become part of the Station SE Section when disembarked but I don't really know what goes on when they're at sea.


SURVO but not stupid enough to be a CSI :)
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War Hero
Most flights have an SE lad to look after the life rafts on the helicopter, even on 42s we had one.

When he wasn't helping out with flight stuff, he'd go and help the buffer sorting out life jackets and what not.
You lucky,lucky bastrd. On Manchester I (R1) was SE sup and my NAm (AE) did the servicing. Everyone on the flight wore several caps (often at the same time) There were never any SE ratings carried on 42s (They are deceased ships now though). It would have been wonderful to have an SE rating. In 1985 there was talk about having as SE and Sup drafted to an RFA, this would mean flight SE could have been swapped for serviceable iyems when servicing became due.
Anything ever come of that?

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