Photo Information

MWHS-2 Marines line the edge of Cherry Point’s combat pool during their annual swim requalifications, Feb. 23.

Photo by Pfc. Samantha H. Arrington

MWHS-2 Marines attack annual swim requalification

23 Mar 2010 | Pfc. Samanthat H. Arrington

When they weren’t conducting gas chamber requalification, more than 60 Marines from Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 2 participated in annual swim requalifications at Cherry Point’s combat pool, Feb. 23.

“Swim qualification could save your life,” said Sgt. Christopher A. Kendall, a Marine combat water survival instructor. “Marines are amphibious by nature, and swimming is a valuable skill set.”

Each swim requalification session begins with an hour of refresher training that covers risks in an aquatic environment, personal survival techniques and lifesaving procedures, such as various breathing techniques and hypothermia prevention.

“This is my first swim qualification since boot camp, and the classes taught me a lot about water survival,” said Lance Cpl. Joshua A. Herbison, a saxophone player for the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing Band. “Swim qualification gives me the chance to get comfortable with swimming in my uniform.”

Presently, there are four levels of combat water survival training, and each level has its own set of tasks that must be performed in order to advance.

The MWHS-2 Marines tested for level four swim requalification, which is the minimum requirement. After level four, the Marines had the option to advance onto levels three, through one.

Soon after the refresher courses were over, the Marines plunged into the water to learn the basics of operating in combat gear, how to utilize their uniform as a life preserver, and tips for maintaining a  relaxed state while in stressful situations in the water.

“I’m swim qualifying to deploy,” said Staff Sgt. Jeffery Quattlebaum, an imagery analyst chief with the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. “Swimming is great for you, and it’s a skill you have to practice because you never know what position you might be in.”

Annual training is required for deployment and helps Marines with many things, including promotions, meritorious boards and overall experience, said Kendall.

Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point