Combat Water Survival Training develops Soldier skills and confidence

Soldiers from Blanchfield Army Community Hospital completed elements from a Combat Water Survival Test during their Soldier of the Year Competition. U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy Nugent from the Allison Aquatics Training Facility on U.S. Army Fort Campbell explained some of the skills Soldiers demonstrated and shared how Combat Water Survival Training supports readiness for Soldiers across the Army.

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Soldiers from Blanchfield Army Community Hospital, completed elements of the combat water survival test, during their Soldier of the Year competition. U.S. Army Sgt.1st Class Jeremy Nugent from the Allison Aquatic training center explains some of the skills soldiers demonstrated and how the training enables readiness.

They’re in the swim test today, we gotta get the folks familiar with some of the equipment that they might be deployed with. We also taught them how to maintain control of that equipment, should they end up in a in a water environment, flash floods, it could happen to anybody You see on the news, cars getting washed away, that can happen pretty much anywhere, especially the environments that we go to. Let’s say they ended up in a situation where they had to fold a river or do some kind of water crossing, you want those guys familiar with the water and it’s from a safe environment in order to make sure that they can handle that situation. Today, the first event was to go off from the platform. That’s just to build the confidence in the soldier to know that if they were in a situation they could perform that task. Once they were in the water, they were taught three survival strokes. A survival stroke can be the breast stroke, side stroke or back stroke. No matter which stroke they chose, they swam approximately 75 meters, maintaining control of the rifle. So that’s important, you don’t want to end up from point A to point B and get out at point B and not have a weapon to defend yourself. The next event was drown proofing. In this event, you have to lose the rifle and your vest. So if you do end up in the water with body armor and a vest, it can drag you down pretty quick. So the goal was to get the vest off get your weapon removed from your body, as fast as possible so it doesn’t drag you down because at that point, drown proofing is just that, you don’t wanna to drown. We taught them how to use their air equipment, their actual pants, so they, they doffed their pants and actually created a flotation device out of it, a very effective flotation device. So if they did have to do a river crossing or something, and they’re not the strongest swimmer, they know that they, they have that option, so, remove those pants and make a really good life vest out of it. The big thing is mentally, so most folks have been in the water at some point, you know, during their life, maybe not necessarily with the gear that, that they use wearing combat or wherever they may be. So, back to the safe environment, we want to get them in the water with that equipment and a safe environment and show them mentally, what the challenges are and how to overcome those challenges.

These training opportunities help soldiers gain the confidence and skills they’ll need.

It was definitely challenging the first one or two times I did it, I’ve struggled quite a bit. I’ve been here couple times now and it gets easier with practice. It definitely builds confidence, doing all the training, I know that I can do it now and I go in with more of a I’m gonna to get this done kind of mentality now.

With my really qualified rescue swimmers. We can keep them safe, as they push that envelope and really push themselves to, to see what they’re capable of and to build their confidence in the water. If we do have a pretty rigorous swim program that we adhere to, and once folks have signed up to do this, they’re pretty much the, some of the best army folks in the water.

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