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Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point

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Cherry Point, North Carolina
Cherry Point Marines, Sailors train for survival

By Lance Cpl. Grace Waladkewics | Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point | January 31, 2014

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Capt. Mengling Dai demonstrates proper combat first aid techniques during survival training at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point's Aviation Survival Training Center Jan. 22. Dai is a forward air controller with Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 1.

Capt. Mengling Dai demonstrates proper combat first aid techniques during survival training at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point's Aviation Survival Training Center Jan. 22. Dai is a forward air controller with Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 1. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Grace L. Waladkewics)


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Cmdr. Rick “Dolp” Bestgen (right) receives instruction on the proper technique for landing on the ground during an emergency during survival training at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point’s Aviation Survival Training Center Jan. 22. All naval aviators conduct refresher training every four years to remain ready to support possible future operations and training.

Cmdr. Rick “Dolp” Bestgen (right) receives instruction on the proper technique for landing on the ground during an emergency during survival training at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point’s Aviation Survival Training Center Jan. 22. All naval aviators conduct refresher training every four years to remain ready to support possible future operations and training. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Grace L. Waladkewics)


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Capt. Richard F. Carmean, a naval aviator with Marine Attack Training Squadron 203, conducts a virtual parachute jump during a survival course at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point’s Aviation Survival Training Center Jan. 22. During the training, Cherry Point pilots refreshed their knowledge and understanding of survival skills to respond to emergencies.

Capt. Richard F. Carmean, a naval aviator with Marine Attack Training Squadron 203, conducts a virtual parachute jump during a survival course at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point’s Aviation Survival Training Center Jan. 22. During the training, Cherry Point pilots refreshed their knowledge and understanding of survival skills to respond to emergencies. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Grace L. Waladkewics)


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Capt. Jason A. Kozak prepares to pull the ejection lever of a pilot’s seat during survival training at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point’s Aviation Survival Training Center Jan. 22. Kozak is a pilot with Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 1.

Capt. Jason A. Kozak prepares to pull the ejection lever of a pilot’s seat during survival training at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point’s Aviation Survival Training Center Jan. 22. Kozak is a pilot with Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 1. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Grace L. Waladkewics)


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Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point --

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. - Marine and Navy jet pilots conducted survival training at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point’s Aviation Survival Training Center to reinforce emergency and water survival skills Jan. 22.

The pilots learned and practiced skills, including seat ejection and water survival, and refreshed their knowledge of life saving equipment, including reduced oxygen breathing devices and the aviation life support system, as part of the mandatory training.

Training included classes on physiology, seat ejection techniques, first aid and personnel recovery procedures for naval aviators in preparation for possible future training and operations, according to Lt. Cmdr. Andrew Hayes, an instructor with ASTC.

“The briefs we gave the pilots are part of a refresher course they must take every four years,” said Hayes. “They are refreshed on a variety of things so they can be prepared for any situation that may arise.”

One of the main objectives of the training was to help pilots recognize symptoms of hypoxia, or oxygen deprivation, said Hayes. During training, pilots breathe nitrogen to create symptoms of hypoxia, like dizziness and blurred vision. The pilots must apply skills to overcome the hypoxia and regain control.

The training helped pilots learn and understand the symptoms of hypoxia and ways to combat its effects to help prepare them for possible emergencies. Though pilots and aircrews understand the seriousness of responding to emergencies, training in a controlled environment helps Marines and Sailors better prepare for possible mishaps, according to Hayes.

“This training is for worst-case scenarios, helping some pilots get over fears or uneasiness,” said Capt. Mengliang Dai, a forward air controller with Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 1. “I think this training is really beneficial because we are going over stuff we may have not thought about for a while.”

Knowing each pilot and aircrew member is trained and ready in an emergency is comforting, according to Dai. Though experience and skill differ, each pilot and crewmember understands the principles of survival, he said.

“I’m not the greatest swimmer,” said Dai, “which makes the swimming and water survival the most challenging, but at the end of the course I always feel confident in my abilities.”

The training, which all naval aviators conduct every four years, helps maintain mission readiness across Marine and Navy aviation, according to Petty Officer 2nd Class Mark Warren, an aerospace physiology technician with ASTC.

“Pilots in a high risk evolution are able to refer back to what we teach them here about how to survive in emergencies,” said Warren. The training helps save lives, according to Warren, with stories from the fleet a testament to the importance of ASTC’s mission.

“Many pilots have come back to tell stories of how the training we provided them with helped save their life, or helped them save someone else’s life,” said Warren. “It’s stories like that and the people I get to work with that make me love my job and look forward to coming to work.”




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