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A Marine with Company E, 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, walks out of the water during a training exercise aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., May 25, 2011. He and the Marines of the company conducted the surf survival exercise, which trains Marines to exit their amphibious assault vehicles 1000 meters away from shore to simulate a sinking vehicle.

Photo by By Lance Cpl. Johnny Merkley

Assault Amphibian Battalion conducts yearly Surf Survival Training

25 May 2011 | By Lance Cpl. Johnny Merkley 2nd Marine Division

Marines and sailors with Company E, 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, took part in the Surf Survival training exercise aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., May 25, 2011.

The training was conducted off the shore of Onslow Beach and required the Marines within the company to swim from 1000 meters off the coast, back to shore.

“This is an annual requirement for the companies within AAB,” said Gunnery Sgt. Henry M. Salgado, a platoon sergeant in Company E. “It’s like our own battalion swim qualification. Every year we conduct this training to ensure the Marines are comfortable with swimming in these conditions.”

The purpose of the training was to ensure the Marines had experience in exiting their amphibious assault vehicles while at sea in case the vehicle malfunctions and begins to sink. This required the Marines to quickly take off their heavy excess gear, inform all Marines within the vehicle on how to exit and put on their life vests before it was too late.

“This training shows the Marine’s ability to swim a long distance of about 1000 meters,” said 1st Lt. Justin D. Davis, the company commander for Company E. “It’s simulating an amphibious landing where approximately halfway to shore their vehicle becomes disabled and begins to sink.”

After the Marines swam ashore, many of them were tired and weary from the long swim in rough waters, but they also expressed their excitement.

“That was my first time doing this training,” said Pfc. John J. Vloyanetes, an AAV crewman in the company. “This is great training and a good workout. I learned a lot and also had a good time doing it.”

For many of the Marines, this is their first time doing the exercise. For the noncommissioned officers who’ve been through it before, their experience and leadership is a key element of what helps teach the new Marines.

“It’s always a great thing to know that you’ve got NCOs who can help guide the younger guys and instruct them during the training,” said Davis. “Staff NCOs and I rely on their leadership to make sure the company is up to par with its training of the junior Marines.”

The training lasted all day as each platoon ran through the exercise. The company’s goal by the end of the day was to have all its Marines trained and comfortable with the scenario, and to have all the Marines safely on shore with the knowledge of surf survival.

“From what I’ve seen so far these Marines are definitely performing to a high level,” said Davis. “It’s good we can have training exercises like this which are beneficial and allow the Marines to have a good time.”