About 125 soldiers from Company D of the 701st Main Support Battalion in Kitzingen, Germany, took part in a Basic Survival Swimmer course on Thursday at Larson Barracks in Kitzingen.
Staff Sgt. Jonathan Christian organized the class, during which troops learned swimming techniques in full battle dress with rucksack. They completed six exercises:
• Waterproofing the rucksack: Involves putting clothes and sleeping bag in waterproof bags and tying them to the outside, along with flak vest, Kevlar and rifle.
• Travel-stroke sequence: Jumping into the pool in full battle dress and ruck, and getting around in the water.
• Getting out of the water: Climbing out while fully loaded with gear — no easy task when waterlogged.
• Treading water/hanging float: Learning to tread water and to face-float while wearing full gear.
• Travel stroke without rucksack: Jump into the deep end of the pool wearing gear (but without ruck), swimming to the shallow end and climbing out.
• Five-minute buoyancy test: Jump into pool wearing gear and tread water for 2½ minutes. Then, hanging float for 2½ minutes.
Soldiers are required to take water safety training once a year, but typically it isn’t so rigorous. This class is the first of the three-level survival swimmer course given to soldiers who must work around water, particularly engineers, who use boats and build bridges.