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Gunnery Sgt. Jeffery Lawson conducts the abandon ship drill off the high-dive platform and into the Base Pool as part of the annual swim qualification aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Aug 24.

Photo by Nathan Hanks

Amphibious Warriors: Marines maintain combat readiness

2 Sep 2016 | Nathan Hanks Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany

The Marine Corps is an expeditionary force with the capability of moving quickly, on short notice, to known and unknown destinations using land, air and sea.

To have the ability to project combat power ashore for a wide range of contingencies from the sea, Marines have to complete annual swim qualification training.

Lance Cpl. Jared Armstrong, administration specialist, Military Personnel, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, completed the Water Survival Basic level of the annual swim qualification at the Base Pool.

“(Swim qualification) is not an easy thing to do especially wearing wet cammies and boots,” Armstrong said. “(Swim qualification) is very important because if we are called up to go defend our country, there could be an instance where you could be fighting for your life in the water with a combat-load.”

The combat-load Armstrong is referring to is swimming with a pack, “which is a lot harder than it seems,” he admitted.

He explained the most challenging part of the qualification for him was the treading of water for four minutes.

“I like the treading of water because it gets (my) adrenaline going and you can feel your body being pulled down from the wet, heavy (uniform) and boots,” he said.

Armstrong concluded by saying that knowing how to swim, in general, is a very useful tool to have.

“You never know when you (may have to use these skills in a combat or non-combat situation to save someone’s life or your own,” he said.

Staff Sgt. Taylor Birt is one of two Marine Corps Instructor of Water Survival trainers who taught the course at the Base Pool.

“Marines are amphibious warriors,” Birt said. “The president (of the United States) expects (the Marine Corps) to be ready at any point in time.”

Birt, a former drill instructor who has taught hundreds of Marine recruits how to swim at Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, California, said all Marines passed the swim qualification with some going on to complete the next level, Water Survival Intermediate.

He said Marines do thank him, after completing their qualification, because they understand the importance of knowing how to swim.

“Marines are expected to operate in all environments,” Birt concluded.

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