FORT CAMPBELL, K.Y. – Forty-five of the finest warriors from across the U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) were assessed on their combat water survival skills in preparation for what is known as a helocast on Aug. 12, 2023, at the home of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) on Fort Campbell, Kentucky. The helocast event will have Soldiers jump from a military rotary aircraft at low altitude into a body of water. The assessment helps Soldiers build confidence in the water and maintain combat readiness even in uncertain scenarios.
“This is important because it’s going to test the Soldiers ability to swim in a combat simulated condition,” said 1st Lt. Isaac Ferrell, the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) Pre-Ranger Officer-in Charge.
This intense survival assessment is a prerequisite to the helocast event and helps Soldiers overcome any potential fears about water survival in full uniform.
“We have had about two or three months of train-up for this event,” said Spc. Connor Parliman, from Brooklyn, New York, a competitor representing the 108th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command. “I think it’s important to know that everyone has swimming capabilities during the helocast jump, so no one is at risk.”
During the first phase of the assessment, Soldiers participating were required to jump into the water in their full Army Combat Uniform (ACU), to include combat boots and swim roughly 25 meters.
With a heavy breath, Parliman stated his team had only trained with the ACU on.
“It was just more challenging to complete the swim with boots on… with boots it definitely adds a lot of weight to your feet,” said Parliman.
The second phase of the combat water survival assessment involves Soldiers jumping into the water wearing a Fighting Load Carrier (FLC) and holding a rubber M4 training carbine. The Soldiers then had to remove the FLC before surfacing and swimming to the exit point.
“The only challenge lies in ditching the extra equipment underwater because it’s a tedious task if not done prior, but with enough training it can be pretty smooth,” said Ferrell.
The nine squads competing in the FORSCOM Best Squad Competition are some of the most highly trained and qualified Soldiers across the command.
(Spc. Kasimir Jackson contributed to this article)
|Date Posted:||08.12.2023 19:02|
|Location:||FORT CAMPBELL, KY, US|
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