A community pool at U.S. Army Garrison Italy offered 173rd Airborne Infantry Brigade Soldiers a location to hold lifesaving training prior to a planned jump over water.
The training, where paratroopers wore boots and learned to swim under a parachute, was held at the Villaggio pool, a facility run by the garrison’s directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.
Paratroopers from the 173rd Brigade Support Battalion, were preparing to jump with German troops into a lake in Germany, said 1st Lt. Alec Hoopes, Air Officer for 173rd’s Brigade Support Battalion.
Soldiers call it “wet silk training.” It’s three short, but exhausting, events. They swim 25 meters, 10 underwater, followed by a 10-minute tread. They finished by swimming underneath a parachute. It’s not required for airborne school, but it is required for the paratroopers taking part in a water jump. Soldiers’ safety is the priority during any jump. Wet silk training give them a chance to analyze their capabilities in the water under distress, Hoopes said.
“Wet silk training is there to validate paratroopers’ ability to survive in the water for an extended period of time,” Hoopes said.
For 1st Lt. Joley Manning, the danger of a parachute landing on top of her was a motivating factor to her nearly flawless course completion.
“This is going to help us for when we enter the water,” Manning said. “In the event the parachute were to come down on us, we have the training to escape.”