Marines from various units on Marine Corps Base Hawaii participated in shallow water egress training at the base pool here, June 18, 2014.
The training introduced Marines to the gear used to increase their survivability in the event of an over-water aircraft mishap.
Personnel from 1st Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marines Headquarters and Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 367 assembled at the base pool in full camouflage utilities and Kevlar helmets for the event. The Marines received classroom instruction the day before practical application.
Marines were first introduced to the SWET chair, a device that simulates rolling over in water. Marines buckled themselves into a simulated aircraft seat and were flipped over by SWET instructors, forcing the students to navigate their way out of the apparatus.
“The purpose of the training is to give Marines the tools they need to be able to egress out of a helicopter in case it crashes in the water,” said Chad Margo, the site manager for the underwater egress trainer. Margo says this training is relevant to all Marines, especially in Hawaii, because every time they fly here, it will be over water.
After an introduction to the chair, Marines learned how to use emergency breathing systems. They conducted practical application with the devices, breathing under and upside down in the water.
“I’m not a huge fan of the water,” said Lance Cpl. Dalton Miller, a first-time SWET chair participant assigned to 3rd Marines. “It’s not really my cup of tea, but you have to stay calm. The biggest thing is overcoming the water inevitably rushing into your nose.”
Miller said although he isn’t a fan of the water, completing the training is crucial to the upcoming Rim of the Pacific exercise.
“You know you’re a vital piece of RIMPAC,” Miller said. “If you’re a man down, the mission might not be as successful because you couldn’t pass a water (SWET) event.”
In the last exercise of the SWET chair training, Marines got back into the seats and donned blackout glasses, forcing them to egress out of the chair upside down and blind, using the tools and training they were given to complete the challenge.
A shallow water egress trainer observes as a Marine goes upside down and attempts to breath compressed air from an emergency breathing system at the base pool on Marine Corps Base Hawaii, June 18, 2014. SWET is introductory training that prepares Marines to evacuate an aircraft in the event of an over-water mishap. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Matthew Callahan/Released)
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