Sgt. 1st Class Darrell Daniels instructs Spc. Ashley Crawford of how to use the ruck sack as a flotation device as a part of water survival training. Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 11th Air Defense Artillery “Imperial” Brigade’s Soldiers participated in the class as one of a series at Replica Pool Aug. 20. Photo by Capt. Tamara Gonzales, 11th ADA Bde. Public Affairs.
Capt. Tamara Gonzales
11th ADA Bde. Public Affairs
Swimming can be recreational, competitive or good exercise. Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, have found another use for swimming: water survival training. The Soldiers trained at Replica Aquatic Center Aug. 20.
The water survival training is a part of warrior task training to develop Soldiers while being creative and thinking outside the box, said Staff Sgt. Calvin Bright, an HHB platoon sergeant and one of the class instructors.
“Our goal is to make [physical training] more fun and to do something different,” said Bright. “We are incorporating required training while making PT fun.”
This was not the first time the unit conducted this type of training, as course instructors are using the “crawl, walk, run” method. During the previous session, Soldiers jumped into the pool wearing their Army combat uniform jackets, pants, sneakers and ruck sacks. This time they added boots, and next time they are planning to train with rubber M-16 rifles and advanced combat helmets.
During the after-action review, Soldiers said they liked the training and, as a result, have decided to make it an active part of their physical training program, said Bright.
“I have two Soldiers that don’t swim, but they both learned from this,” said Staff Sgt. John Walker.
The training began with Soldiers jumping into the pool in complete uniforms – with ruck sacks on their backs – before swimming a half lap to warm up. Next they learned how to transform the ruck sack, which traditionally carries a full load of personal gear, into a flotation device.
The ruck sack is not the only item a Soldier can use if needed. The whole uniform can be turned into a life-saving measure. To turn the jacket into such an item, Soldiers held the bottom of the jacket away from their abdomen with one hand and, with the other hand, scooped air into the bottom of the jacket while it was submerged.
Throughout the training, Bright emphasized the importance of remaining calm and in control.
The Soldiers also learned how to turn their everyday ACU pants into life jackets. Bright ensured all the Soldiers were wearing swim trunks and then instructed them to remove their ACU pants. They then double-tied the ankle open-ends together and placed that part behind their necks and, holding the waist area over their heads, slapped the pants into the water, catching air as they went.
“It is nice to know that ... in a situation like this, our stuff works,” said Sgt. Tim Smith.