My GECU

204th Military Intelligence Battalion trains for water survival

Daniel Zamora, left, and Cruz Duran, right, lifeguards at the Aquatics Training Center and shallow water egress trainers, prepare to flip over Spc. Jason MacGillivary, assigned to the 204th Military Intelligence Battalion, during water survival training at the ATC here May 10. Photos by Wendy Brown, Fort Bliss Bugle Managing Editor.

Daniel Zamora, left, and Cruz Duran, right, lifeguards at the Aquatics Training Center and shallow water egress trainers, prepare to flip over Spc. Jason MacGillivary, assigned to the 204th Military Intelligence Battalion, during water survival training at the ATC here May 10. Photos by Wendy Brown, Fort Bliss Bugle Managing Editor.

By Wendy Brown, Fort Bliss Bugle Managing Editor:

(El Paso, TexFrom the beginning, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Todd Jacobson underscored why shallow water egress training was one of the most important segments of the 204th Military Intelligence Battalion’s water survival training at the Aquatics Training Center here May 10.

Jacobson, a safety officer assigned to the 204th MI Bn., told a room full of Soldiers about a flight crewmember who died because he became disoriented and swam down instead of up after the medevac training flight he was on crashed into a lake.

Sgt. Cody Gillaspie, assigned to the 204th Military Intelligence Battalion, bails water from an LRU-18U inflatable life raft, also known as a “shark taco,” during water survival training at the Aquatics Training Center here May 10.

Sgt. Cody Gillaspie, assigned to the 204th Military Intelligence Battalion, bails water from an LRU-18U inflatable life raft, also known as a “shark taco,” during water survival training at the Aquatics Training Center here May 10.

“Learn from this,” Jacobson said before the training began. “We hope you’re never going to need it, but learn from this training.”

The battalion is the only unit at Fort Bliss that flies airplanes, so it is necessary that crewmembers – who don’t receive the same emergency training as pilots – know what to do in the event an aircraft has an emergency landing or crashes into a body of water, said Capt. Joshua Hicks, the battalion’s training officer in charge.

About 140 Soldiers took the training at three stations throughout the facility. In addition to the shallow water egress training, Soldiers learned how to float in a Mustang survival suit, get into a LRU-18U inflatable life raft, use an Army Combat Uniform as an inflatable device, swim in uniform, inflate a life vest in deep water and more, Hicks said.

051817unitnews3_3For the shallow water egress training, trainers flipped Soldiers upside down in a metal cage that mimics an aircraft seat. The Soldier then had to get out of the cage while under water. Next, Soldiers had to do it again, this time while wearing blackout goggles.

Chief Warrant Officer Brant Bump, a pilot assigned to the 204th MI Bn., said the blackout portion of the training was particularly important.051817unitnews3_4

“Disorientation is a huge problem, especially when you’re not used to getting blacked out upside down in water,” Bump said.

Not only is it important for Soldiers to be able to orient themselves in water, it is also important for them to know how difficult it is to swim after an emergency event, Bump said.

“One of the first things the Soldiers realize once they get in the water is that it’s harder to swim in your uniform than it seems,” Bump said.

Soldiers also had to jump from the facility’s high dive and inflate a life vest, Bump said.

“They go down and pull the cord to inflate,” Bump said, and the life vest will pull the Soldier to the top. “… If they get in deep water, it shows them they don’t have to swim to the top.”

Soldiers also had to tread water for 2½ minutes and float for 2½ minutes.

Sgt. 1st Class Anthony Pedraza said he had done the training before, but it was a long time ago, so it was a good refresher.

“It helps to remind the crewmembers that in the event something goes wrong, it’s not just the pilots who need to know how to swim and survive in the water,” Pedraza said.

Cpl. Carlos Rivera, meanwhile, said he had never had the training before, but found it helpful, hands-on training.

“I think it was great,” Rivera said. “We were able to learn how to react if we’re inverted in the water. There are a lot of steps you can take so you don’t drown.”

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Posted by on May 17 2017. Filed under Unit News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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