MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – As Marines return to their amphibious roots, it's important for them to learn survival skills that have the potential to save their lives in the ocean.
Marines with 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, learned basic water survival skills to help build confidence in the water at Camp Pendleton, Jan. 9.
"(Swim Qualification) is important because we are the amphibious branch of the military," said Sgt. James Doyle, a Marine Corps instructor of water survival with 1st Marine Regiment. "Nine times out of ten, we will deploy with a ship or to an amphibious area."
The lessons show Marines how to swim on patrol with a waterproofed pack and shed their gear quickly in order to egress out of their heavy flak jackets while still in the water.
"As Marines, we are amphibious, so we need to know how to swim well," said Lance Cpl. Christian C. Wise, a motor transportation mechanic with 7th ESB.
The defining moment of the training is the abandon-ship drill, where the Marines plunge approximately about 25 feet into the water.
"People can be scared of the heights," said Wise, 19, from Salida, Calif. "People can hit the water wrong or sink. When you are up there, you know you are going to have to do it, so you just get it over with."
Prior to joining the Marine Corps, each Marine's experience spans from not knowing how to swim, to having competed on swim teams.
"I'm not a good swimmer, but (swim qualification) helps me become a better swimmer and conquer my fears," said Wise.
The Marines may have hesitated before jumping into the pool, but they came out of the water with newfound confidence.
"Now I know I can do it," Wise said. "If we were on a ship and things went bad, I would know what to do and that I could do it."