307th Bomb Wing completes water survival training

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kate Bragg
  • 307th Bomb Wing

The worst case scenario of ejecting over open water is never expected, but if it does occur, aircrew and aeromedical personnel from the 307th Bomb Wing are prepared to survive. Airmen traveled from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, to the Florida coast to participate in Water Survival Training (WST) provided by Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) specialists assigned to Patrick AFB.

The Reserve Citizen Airmen learned survival techniques and put them into practice on land and water.

Over the course of the training, participants practiced the water survival techniques of releasing themselves from a parachute while being dragged, escaping from under a parachute that has landed on them, and boarding one-man rafts in the open water.

After maneuvering their rafts to shore, they worked in elements to navigate through the coastal brush to an extraction point to be picked up by helicopter.

Master Sgt. Bon Strout, 920th Operations Support Squadron SERE flight chief, conducted the course.

According to participant Maj. Micah Siegel, a 307th Medical Squadron flight surgeon, Strout is the right man for the job.

"He clearly has a lot of field experience that he was sharing with us," Siegel said. "If we were stuck in a hairy situation, he'd be the guy that I'd want to be there with."

Aircrew must complete a Water Survival training course every thirty-six months.

According to Maj. Christopher Cousler, 93rd Bomb Squadron electronic warfare officer, training in this environment was beneficial even for those who have completed their initial WST.

"I think it is the first time for many of us since our initial water and survival training that we have really accomplished it with this amount of realism," said Cousler.

One participant with over 19 years of military service, Maj. Kerry Baker, 93rd Bomb Squadron weapons systems officer, amplified Cousler's sentiments.

"It was some of the best training I've ever had in my entire experience in the Air Force Reserve or active duty," Baker said. "It was excellent."

The goal is to remain in the air to accomplish the mission, but an emergency may occur. With more real-world WST under their belts, members of the 307th are ready and prepared if this situation ever occurs.