Just keep swimming; Reservists train on water survival

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jasmine Czajka
  • 507th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – Thirty U.S. Air Force Reserve aircrew members from the 507th Air Refueling Wing and the 513th Air Control Group here attended a water training exercise at a local wave pool for water survival recertification, June 4, 2022.

The training, led by a Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape specialist, is required for all aircrew members every 3 years in order to stay certified in water survival skills. 

Survival training is held annually by Air Force Reserve units to make sure everyone remains deployment ready at any given time according to 1st Lt. Keisha Holback, a KC-135 pilot in the 465th Air Refueling Squadron. 

“The training is a refresher on essential survival skills in case we go down from an aircraft into water,” said Holback. “It’s to keep ourselves safe and to keep sensitive info and ourselves away from enemy capture.”

The group carried out multiple scenarios with the aircrew members designed to equip them for any circumstance they may encounter such as weather, resource availability, and peaceful versus combat environments, according to Tech. Sgt. Samuel Wirstrom, a boom operator in the 465th ARS

“If we were to get into a situation where we would have to evacuate the airplane and inflate the raft, we have to know how to survive in the water for X amount of days,” said Wirstrom. “One day it could save your life.”