MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --
Eight aircrew members participated in an underwater survival class, Jan. 19 and 24, here.
The two-day class was geared towards equipping aircrew members with the skills and knowledge necessary to survive in an emergency situation in which their aircraft were to crash in the water.
“More than 70 percent of the earth is covered in water and we fly a lot of missions over water,” said Tech Sgt. Daniel, 347th Operations Support Squadron survival, evasion, resistance and escape specialist. “We need to ensure that our Airmen are properly prepared to overcome the aversions presented by an underwater situation.”
When an aircraft crashes in water, the aircrew has a limited amount of time to make decisions in order to ensure their survival.
“When you’re sinking in the ocean, you’re somewhat disoriented, so having the prior training and skills to get to safety is essential,” said Master Sgt. Robert Alvarado, 41st Rescue Squadron special mission aviator. “Acquiring that muscle memory through training in the pool creates confidence and certainty that if my aircraft were to crash, I’ll know how to get to safety.”
In addition to building the muscle memory to handle underwater situations, participants became familiarized with just some of the adverse circumstances they could face in an emergency.
“This class has refreshed my proficiency in basic water survival,” said Maj. Albert Chang, 75th Fighter Squadron A-10C Thunderbolt II pilot. “I was trained in parachute disentanglement and life raft familiarization.”
Equipment difficulties can arise while at sea and overcoming them and being prepared for a shortage in human necessities is crucial.
“When you are out at sea, certain essentials such as water and food are limited, so wisely using the resources you have available is vital to your survival,” said Daniel. “Also, remaining aware of some of the medical difficulties that can arise such as sea salt rashes, sore spots or motion sickness while at sea is paramount to survival.”
Finally, the aircrew members emphasized how preparing yourself mentally to handle an aircraft crash is just as important as conserving your physical resources.
“Staying calm, remembering the training, and keeping a positive rescue mindset is key to staying alive,” said Chang. “Having the faith and positive attitude that you’re going to be rescued is critical to survival.”