Air Station Kodiak hits the pool, bay for training

KODIAK, Alaska - Petty Officer 3rd Class Ralph Aguero, left, an aviation survival technician with Air Station Kodiak, assists HC-130 Hercules airplane crewmembers into a life raft during the air station's annual survival training Oct. 4, 2011. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jonathan Lally.

Coast Guardsmen at Air Station Kodiak conducted annual survival training, more commonly known as “wet drills.” For three days, more than 200 aviators practiced survival skills, equipment drills and egress training to stay proficient with Coast Guard standards.

Following a refresher course on survival equipment, the helicopter aviators donned a dry suit while the HC-130 Hercules airplane crewmembers only needed to wear anti-exposure coveralls.  Each group jumped into Womens Bay and swam together to a life raft.  Once in the raft, they discussed survival techniques with an aviation survival technician before they swam back to shore.

The Coast Guardsmen then transitioned to the base pool for more water survival training.  Each Coast Guardsman swam 75 yards wearing a flight suit, weighted life vest and boots.  Once that was complete, they tread water for about two minutes and then manually inflated their vest using an inflation tube.

Helicopter crewmembers endured additional training in the shallow water egress training chair.  The SWET chair simulates a helicopter cockpit and each rotary wing aviator had to properly egress the seat when the chair was flipped upside down in the pool. 

“I transferred from Barbers Point, Hawaii, and I expected cold water, rain and wind during the training, but thankfully I had sunshine,” said Lt. Dave Corey, an Air Station Kodiak Hercules airplane pilot.  “As a pilot, I’m glad we have this annual training as it ensures aircrews remain familiar with our emergency equipment.  The Alaskan waters are treacherous and with the help of this training, I know I’ll have a better chance of survival.” 

This training is vital for Alaskan Coast Guard aviators due to the harsh climate and unforgiving waters.  Due to the training, these aviators are always ready in time of need no matter the conditions. 

To view more photos of the survival training, click below:
Air Station Kodiak survival training photo 1 
Air Station Kodiak survival training photo 2 
Air Station Kodiak survival training photo 3
Air Station Kodiak survival training photo 4

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