CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. – Swimming has been part of the Marine Corps since its birth¬† in 1775. Marines stormed their first beach during the Revolutionary War. They¬† turned the tide in Korea when they landed at Inchon in 1950, and their skill in¬† water remains key today.
The Marines stood on top of the dive tower,¬† looking down into the deep blue pool, hearts beating through their chests as the¬† countdown began.
The Marines with Combat Logistics Regiment 27, 2nd¬† Marine Logistics Group jumped into their annual swim qualification here, from¬† Jan. 7 to 9.
Swimming has been part of the Marine Corps since its birth¬† in 1775. Marines stormed their first beach during the Revolutionary War. They¬† turned the tide in Korea when they landed at Inchon in 1950, and their skill in¬† water remains key today.
‚??Everything we do revolves around water,‚?Ě said¬† Lance Cpl. Jacob H. Schiros, a Dothan, Ala., native and one of the regiment‚??s¬† swim qualification coordinators. ‚??Whether it‚??s being on base, ship, or taking¬† the beach somewhere, Marines must know how to swim.‚?Ě
The Marines embraced¬† their 237-year legacy and dove into the Corps‚?? recently updated swim¬† qualification program.
The new training is an awakening for Marines who¬† haven‚??t qualified since recruit training. It replaced the six previous levels of¬† qualification with three new categories: basic, intermediate and advanced, with¬† the option of becoming an instructor.
To receive their basic¬† qualification, the Marines first completed a 25-meter assessment swim to see if¬† they are comfortable in the water. They also practiced removing their gear in¬† the shallow end.
Servicemembers completed another 25-meter swim with their¬† boots, blouses, trousers, helmets, flak jackets and rifles, and they jumped off¬† the high tower simulating abandoning a ship.
Anything more than five¬† meters is enough to test someone with a fear of heights, said Sgt. Matthew A.¬† Webb, a Marine Corps Instructor of Water Survival who conducted the training for¬† the regiment.
Stronger swimmers progressed to the intermediate level and¬† conducted gear removal in deeper water. They had 20 seconds to complete the task¬† before performing a 250-meter swim and treading water for 10 minutes.
Troops that overcame these obstacles can then go to a special school to receive¬† an advanced qualification.
‚??The Marines who have done this before really¬† show their confidence,‚?Ě said Webb, who monitored the Marines‚?? performance. ‚??If¬† these Marines are not confident in the water, my job is to pull them aside,¬† train them, assess what they are doing, and help them improve.‚?Ě
Webb¬† coached the Marines as they shed gear underwater and practiced creating¬† flotation devices from personal clothing.
‚??This prepares them if they¬† are in a combat situation,‚?Ě said Webb, a Modesto, Calif., native. ‚??If they are¬† on a ship or out on the water and have to abandon ship with equipment on, they¬† need to be confident that they can get out of their gear and onto the surface.‚?Ě
The new requirements are getting the Marine Corps back to its amphibious¬† roots. The regiment plans to conduct swim qualifications every month to keep all¬† Marines up to date, said Schiros.