MCIPAC Marines stay water survival qualified during COVID

U.S. Marines with Marine Corps Installations Pacific, complete their swim qualification at the Foster Aquatic Center on Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan, Nov. 20, 2020. All Marines are required to complete the Water Survival Basic swim qualification every two years and have a follow-on opportunity to attempt the advanced Water Survival Intermediate course. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Zachary Larsen)
U.S. Marines with Marine Corps Installations Pacific, complete their swim qualification at the Foster Aquatic Center on Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan, Nov. 20, 2020. All Marines are required to complete the Water Survival Basic swim qualification every two years and have a follow-on opportunity to attempt the advanced Water Survival Intermediate course. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Zachary Larsen)

MCIPAC Marines stay water survival qualified during COVID

Marine Corps Installations Pacific

CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan -- U.S. Marines with Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Installations Pacific completed the biennial swim qualification on Camp Foster, Nov. 20.

All Marines are required to complete the Water Survival Basic swim qualification every two years and have a follow-on opportunity to attempt the advanced Water Survival Intermediate course. WSB consists of five events: a 25m swim, a gear shed, 25m self-rescue swim, 25m pack swim and a five minute water tread. Additionally, WSI consists of a 250m self-rescue swim, a gear shed while moving, a buddy-assist, employ a flotation device and tread water using their utility blouse and trousers as an inflation aid.

“These are skills that every Marine and sailor should know,” said U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Kody Schwartz, a Hutchison, Minnesota, native and Marine Corps Instructor of Water Survival with Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Installations Pacific. “These are lifesaving skills, for not only themselves, but their fellow troops. With the help of Water Survival Advanced students, we ensure Marines have the skills and safety to pass.”

Schwartz has been a MCIWS since April 2019, and has conducted one to two swim qualifications every month ranging from 50-75 Marines within each qualification.

“I love to see Marines who start without water confidence and end up swimming better just because we helped them,” said Navy Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Israel Nolen, an El Paso, Texas, native and safety corpsman with 3rd Medical Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistic Group. “In the WSB course, we train every Marine to be competent in the water to save themselves. In the WSI advanced course we ensure they obtain the tools to respond to an emergency in the water to save someone else.”

Due to COVID-19 mitigation efforts, a few adjustments were enforced to align with the current health guidelines, however, Marines continued to train to stay fit and ready for the fight. The advanced WSA course has not been held since the beginning of COVID-19, but the WSB course occurs once a month with Marines staying social distance throughout the event.

“I absolutely love training Marines,” said Schwartz. “I may not be a Marine, but I am a MCIWS with the opportunity to have a positive impact on not only the battalion, but the whole installation.”

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