Air Station Houston holds “Wet Drills”

Coast Guard District 8 NewsThe Coast Guard is known for its aquatic prowess and scouring the high seas for things ranging from missing mariners to illegal drug traffickers.

But what do you do when the unthinkable happens, and Coast Guard members are suddenly the ones needing to be rescued?

Coast Guard Air Station Houston personnel hold “wet drills” every year. Wet drills are hands-on training sessions that help to train or refresh crewmembers in basic survival skills, the proper use of pyrotechnics and dewatering pumps.

The training is part of an annual requirement for all air crewmembers throughout the Coast Guard and is designed to increase their survivability in the water and on land. This year the wet drills were held at the 288 Lake Houston Scuba Diving and Sports Training Facility, Oct. 12, 2011.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Bryan Sutherland, an aviation survival technician at Air Station Houston, was one of the instructors for the air stations latest round of wet drills.

“Once a year, Air Station Houston conducts wet drills to teach and refresh all the important skills aircrew members must know,” said Sutherland. “This training could be the difference between life and death if the air crewmembers ever finds themselves in a survival situation.”

“Not only did they learn very important life-saving skills, but also how to work with your aircrew and solve the problems that will be laid before them in the event that something goes wrong,” Sutherland stated.

The participants were divided into teams and presented with team building scenarios that encompassed all the required training and familiarization with our survival equipment. Each team was required to have a range of pay-grades, but only the most junior person could answer the trainer’s questions.

One of the members being trained was Lt. Joseph Hunter, an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter pilot at Air Station Houston.

“Contribution from junior members was just as important as senior members to team success,” said Hunter. “Which is also the way it is in the aircraft, everyone has to be heard because any person can have information that keeps the crew safe regardless of their rank.”

“Lack of familiarity with survival equipment can mean the difference between a bad situation turning out great, to becoming tragic,” stated Hunter. “And that’s why water survival is some of the most important training we do because it keeps us refreshed and prepared for worst case scenarios.”

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