Miss Missouri learns Combat Water Survival
Miss Missouri 2008 Lacey Firzgerald completes a high entry jump at Davidson Fitness Center pool, May 19.

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo., -Miss Missouri 2008, Lacey Fitzgerald, joined Soldiers for drown-proofing training at Davidson Fitness Center, Tuesday.

Fitzgerald's visit was part of Summer Safety Days, a two-week period set aside by the Maneuver Support Center and Fort Leonard Wood to prepare everyone for the safety and health concerns associated with summer.

Fitzgerald took part in Combat Water Survivability training and talked about the importance of water safety, including at the Lake of the Ozarks.

"People should always be cautious of their surroundings. You never know what's going to happen, especially at the Lake of the Ozarks. Everybody's in a boat, and whether you're being the smart one or not, something could happen to you. So always be cautious, and be able to protect yourself in the water," Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald got hands-on training in the same methods Soldiers use to protect themselves from drowning in combat situations.

Staff Sgt. Deleon McClure, Company A, 1st Battalion, 48th Infantry Regiment drill sergeant, gave Fitzgerald the Combat Water Survivability briefing.

"We teach the Soldiers how to survive in water, or how to overcome water obstacles without panicking," McClure said.

Some Soldiers are strong swimmers and some are non-swimmers, McClure said. The training is for all of them.

"Missouri has a lot of water recreation, and this is something we can do, to invite Miss Missouri here, to let her see we're doing our part as far as water survivability," McClure said.

Drowning can be prevented with the proper training, like the kind Fitzgerald received, McClure said.

Fitzgerald learned how to make a flotation device out of the Army Combat Uniform, she had to swim 25 meters with a rifle and complete a high-entry drop.

"The high entry drop is basically so you can control your fears," McClure said.
Fitzgerald faced her own fear of falling to complete the training.

"I was scared to death, but I overcame my fear. I think it's great how they train Soldiers. A lot of people aren't trained specifically in this skill, so here on Fort Leonard Wood, they have these guys trained and they are able to take on any battle in the water. I think everyone should take this class," Fitzgerald said.

Troops looked on as Fitzgerald completed the training.

"I think it's very good; I like it a lot when celebrities come out to support the troops," said Air Force Staff Sgt. Lucas McGlone, Air Force Detachment 7, 366th Training Squadron.

Page last updated Fri May 22nd, 2009 at 15:48