Firefighters wearing full diving suits and related equipment dove into an open hole in the ice Feb. 6, 2019, at Big Sandy Lake on South Post at Fort McCoy, Wis.
About a dozen firefighters with the Directorate of Emergency Services Fire Department practiced ice diving as part of the Fort McCoy dive team.
Overall, the firefighters completed four days of training related to ice diving that also included classroom time and practice at the pool at Rumpel Fitness Center.
Fort McCoy built the dive team capability eight years ago and the team has responded to real-world emergencies, including recently to an emergency in Sparta, Wis.
Firefighter Matt Wheeler - who's also known as Army Reservist Staff Sgt. Wheeler with the 2nd Battalion, 411th Logistics Support Battalion - was one of the divers going through the training. He said the training is priceless, especially when there's always the possibility you may have to use learned skills to save a life.
"This is a really good training," Wheeler said. "I always like learning a new skill and then getting out and applying like we did here."
"Not many people can do this and it's a service and capability that is required for (our department)," said Firefighter Michael Forlines, also a dive team member. "We train in the cold and in these wintry conditions because we have to be able to gear up, go under the ice, and save a possible victim."
Located in the heart of the upper Midwest, Fort McCoy is the only U.S. Army installation in Wisconsin. The installation has provided support and facilities for the field and classroom training of more than 100,000 military personnel from all services each year since 1984.
Learn more about Fort McCoy online at https://home.army.mil/mccoy, on Facebook by searching "ftmccoy," and on Twitter by searching "usagmccoy.