Flares, food and floating – these key elements of water survival are experienced by pilots and aircrew once every other year.
86th Operations Support Squadron members teach a mandatory class in the Baumholder pool once a month that exposes aircrews to life in the water.
“It’s a refresher course for aircrew,” said Tech. Sgt. Jeff Stoermer, 86th OSS life support instructor.
The instructors keep the classroom portion to a minimum so the students have more hands-on time in the water.
“The pool is a better learning environment,” said Sergeant Stoermer. “The students experience the practical application of a theory and I feel better knowing I’ve seen them actually use survival techniques instead of just talking about them.”
“The getting your feet wet helps put you into the environment that a classroom would not and gets you thinking survival other than daydreaming in a classroom,” said Staff Sgt. Fred Johnson, 76th Airlift Squadron flight attendant and water survival student.
“Before we started using the Baumholder pool last summer, the class was 45 minutes with books,” said Sergeant Stoermer. “The rewarding part now is they say it was a great class because they got in the pool, and I know they know how to do it.”
“I feel that water survival is very important because we all have the unfortunate possibility of ditching,” said Sergeant Johnson. “Knowing that I have the knowledge and tools from the water survival course makes me feel fully capable to survive at sea provided I survive the crash.”