4th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade troops dive into water operations training
August 25, 2014
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (Aug. 25, 2014) -- Soldiers from the 94th Engineer Battalion's Forward Support Company spent a morning outside of their comfort zone, as they conducted a water operations training exercise here, Aug. 14.
Troops from the Forward Support Company, 94th Engineer Battalion, 4th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, were challenged with various tasks, including boat drills and swimming with waterproofed gear.
The water training was a different experience for the participating troops, whose daily tasks primarily deal with transportation, supply, maintenance, and food service support.
"I'm actually terrified of the water," said Spc. Davina Francis, a Ramah, New Mexico, native and light-wheeled vehicle mechanic.
Fear didn't stop Francis, though, as she, along with her fellow Soldiers, paddled a Zodiac inflatable boat out into the waters of the Training Area 250 Lake. They capsized the boat, and then worked as a team to flip it over, and get everyone back into the watercraft.
"It helps to be a well-rounded and trained Soldier in today's Army," Francis said of the experience. "This gives you better insight of what goes on outside of the motor pool."
Capt. Darren Templeton, FSC commander and Greenville, South Carolina, native, pointed out that the reason his Soldiers train, is to maintain trust and build confidence in themselves, their equipment and their leaders.
Judging by the reactions of many FSC Soldiers, the training met the commander's intent.
"If we ever have to do something like this, we know we won't drown and that we can depend on each other," said Pfc. Gerard Jean-Baptiste, a welder and machinist, originally from Orlando, Florida.
The exercise also allowed another group to hone their skills. The Fort Leonard Wood Fire Department's water rescue team not only made sure the Soldiers remained safe as they trained, but the crew also rehearsed their response skills as they rescued Soldiers, who portrayed overboard boaters and swimmers in distress.
"I appreciate the chance to come out here and train and get hands-on experience," said Robert Koeppel, a firefrighter and EMT and Cape Girardeau, Missouri, native, who is in training to be a water rescue technician. "It's a great team-building exercise."
Although the FSC Soldiers were drained from a morning full of rowing and swimming, they enjoyed their day on the water.
Pfc. Orozco Luis, an Oxnard, California, native, joked that his day was probably more interesting than those of his Army fueler brethren who were assigned to different units.
"I'm doing this with a smile on my face," Luis said. "It's not false motivation."