By Sgt. 1st Class Aaron Rognstad | 1st Space Brigade Public Affairs Office, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command
FORT CARSON, Colo. — Soldiers with 2nd Space Company, 1st Space Battalion, 1st Space Brigade, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, conducted combat water survival training Oct. 29, 2021, which familiarized Soldiers with deep water in case of emergency.
The training consisted of a 15-meter swim, a three-meter-high plunge off a diving board and an equipment ditch, all in full uniform, with a load-bearing vest while carrying a “dummy” weapon.
“This training gets Soldiers familiar with the water in case they end up in it, through no fault of their own,” said 1st Lt. Riley Nolan, executive officer in charge, 2nd Space Co., 1st Space Bn. “A lot of these Soldiers haven’t done this before, so this is something different, and we’re getting out of the office, doing something fun.”
Sgt. Jerod Caldwell, an operations NCO in charge, 2nd Space Co., 1st Space Bn., said the training, which was a first for him, was beneficial.
“I have some prior swim experience, so it was a one-time ‘go’ for me,” said Caldwell. “At the end of the day, we are all Soldiers, so we need to have this training because if something does go wrong, we know what to do.”
Sgt. Lauren Roper, NCOIC of a space control planning team in 2nd Space Co., 1st Space Bn., said the equipment ditch — where Soldiers jump in the water with vest and weapon and “ditch” their equipment in the pool — was the most difficult part of the training for her. For smaller Soldiers, this event can pose some challenges due to their light bodyweight causing buoyancy. To succeed, it entails Soldiers speedily removing their equipment before gravity does its job.
It was also Roper’s first time performing the training.
“The equipment ditch was a lot tougher than I thought,” said Roper. “It’s a lot harder to stay sunken when your body naturally wants to bring you back to the surface. I couldn’t stay underwater long enough to get my vest off. It’s something I have to work on.”
The training was a modification of the Army’s Combat Water Survival Test, an annual requirement for all Army Soldiers.