MacDill service members participate in a joint service exercise

TAMPA BAY, Fla. --

Service members from the 6th Air Mobility Wing and the Joint Communications Support Element participated in a joint water survival exercise at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, July 18, 2017.

The exercise provided an opportunity for members from both units to experience an in-water survival environment.

“The intent was to evaluate current and qualified aircrew members’ capability to maintain life in an open water environment and utilize appropriate recovery procedures,” said Tech. Sgt. Nicklaus Braun, the Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape program manager assigned to the 6th Operations Support Squadron.

The goal is to have members prepared, so if they are ever put into a water survival situation, they know how to react.

“In the event an aircraft was required to make an emergency landing on the water, the aircrew has to be prepared to overcome the shock of such an event and apply the techniques learned from this exercise to survive in an open sea environment until search and rescue assets are able to come to their aid,” explained Maj. Robert Old Crow, the assistant director of operations assigned to the 6th OSS.

During the exercise, the members simulated putting up an evasion tent that goes over the raft for shelter and went fishing with supplies normally found on their aircraft.

“Conducting exercises like this helps gauge the operational readiness of our aircrews and evaluate our initial and continuation training programs,” explained Braun. “If we notice a common deficiency in the aircrews’ skill set, we can adjust our training programs both here at MacDill and during initial training at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington.”

The exercise provided training for JSCE in two ways.

First, they put two JSCE service members on the raft with the other simulated survivors.

“They gained experience and learned about meeting their needs in the open water environment,” said Braun. “This will prepare them for missions down range where they may be attached to units that have the risk of isolation in an open water environment.”

Secondly, JCSE boat teams accomplished some essential tasks.

“While on the water, JCSE was able to accomplish boat operator upgrades in preparations for their upcoming airborne mission support,” said Braun.  “Their boat teams maintain a high degree of readiness and competency in order to support their in-house missions.”

From survivor training to boat tasks, the exercise provided necessary experience for JCSE and the 6th AMW that will ensure they are prepared for worst case scenarios and are mission ready at a moment’s notice.