Marines face swimming qualifications at MCLB - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Marines face swimming qualifications at MCLB

Dozens of US Marines completed crucial water survival training Wednesday afternoon at the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Albany. (Source: WALB) Dozens of US Marines completed crucial water survival training Wednesday afternoon at the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Albany. (Source: WALB)
Lance Corporal Jared Armstrong (Source: WALB) Lance Corporal Jared Armstrong (Source: WALB)
Staff Sergeant Taylor Birt (Source: WALB) Staff Sergeant Taylor Birt (Source: WALB)
Survival skills were put to a test with swimming, diving and Armstrong's personal favorite, floating in the pool. (Source: WALB) Survival skills were put to a test with swimming, diving and Armstrong's personal favorite, floating in the pool. (Source: WALB)
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Navigating the seas has long been a critical role for US Marines. 

Every year, those troops have to prove they can hold their own in the water.

Dozens of US Marines completed crucial water survival training Wednesday afternoon at the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Albany. 

"Swim qual is a great lesson because you never know when you'll be called up to the plate," said Lance Corporal Jared Armstrong.

Armstrong has been a Marine for a little over a year, and this is his second time taking the course.  

"It's not an easy thing to do especially with the camis that we wear and the boots," explained Armstrong. "The water weighs into it. And it kind of gives you a bit of a rush when you're fighting through the water."

And those survival skills were put to a test with swimming, diving and Armstrong's personal favorite, floating in the pool. 

Some Marines had to get out of their helmet, flak jacket and rifle in less than 10 seconds, while in the water.

Marines have to be able to remove heavy equipment quickly if they're ever thrown overboard.  

"Swimming with a pack with a decent amount of weight is a lot harder than it seems," explained Armstrong.

Trained instructors oversee the course.

"Even getting out of a ship and they've had to apply the techniques that they learned here to survive until someone was able to go rescue them, yeah," said Staff Sergeant Taylor Birt.

Birt has been teaching the course for four years. 

He makes it his mission to spot those who need additional help. 

"It's Marines who are uncomfortable who we may need to give that attention so that way they can save their own lives or potentially the life of another Marine," explained Birt.

And live up the Marine motto, Semper fi, always faithful.

Copyright 2016 WALB. All rights reserved.   

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