MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
“Dive is clear! Dive is clear!” echoed throughout the muggy room as the instructors lowered the blue vehicle simulator holding several Marines into the pool. Within seconds the Marines released themselves from the submerged vehicle and popped up on the surface.
“Is this the last time I have to do this? This is not fun!” exclaimed an exhausted, out of breath Marine immediately upon surfacing.
The Marines with 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, completed two days of water survival training at the Combat Training Pool here, Dec. 8.
“There have been some accidents with various vehicles crashing over water in the past so the Marine Corps took steps to provide this type of training to give them an extra tool,” said Stephen R. Lampley, the site manager.
The training was designed to be challenging but not impossible to complete.
“It was hard at first but once we went through the dry runs it made me feel comfortable” said Pfc. Kyle Roberts, a mortarman with Weapons Company. “It was very close to a real-life scenario.”
The instructors stressed to the Marines that the time spent at the pool may one day save their lives.
“We tell every class it’s better to learn these techniques in a controlled environment like this instead of in an actual emergency,” Lampley said. “You never know what may happen when you get on a helicopter and fly. This training not only applies to aircraft but also to cars, ships, trains, basically anything.”
The training is a combination of classes and practical application. On the first day, the Marines received instruction on orientation, techniques and reference points. On the last day, the Marines went to the pool and actually employed what they learned.
“It’s a little bit of a mix between instruction and counseling,” Lampley said. “There’s no swim requirement, no pass or fail, as long as they continue to try we’ll help them get to the level where they need to be.”
Lampley said the Marines who usually do the best are those who learn from their initial mistakes and never give up on themselves or the training.
“The Marines we really know we did our job with are the individuals who come here anxious and recognize they may have problems, but they learn from our training techniques and our philosophy,” Lampley said. “We’re here to help them, if they want to try, we will try along with them—just as long as they don’t quit.”
However, most of the Marines who come through the course are energized and excited about doing something new and unusual, according to Lampley.
“Marines by nature are always pumped up and usually never give up,” Lampley added. “They may not like to do it, but they realize the training is important and it can possibly save their life. So they just hang in there and get the job done.”
Roberts was thankful for the training and the professional guidance of the instructors. He said he felt more prepared now to properly respond to an emergency situation.
“The instructors explained the scenarios very well and I feel good about what I learned,” Roberts said. “It’s great to do stuff that you know will help you and it’s even better when it’s fun!”
The Combat Training Pool is open for business to any unit. They offer two classes a week, each two days long. Marines interested can call (910) 451-7438.