AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Before the sun came up, Soldiers from the 100th Missile Defense Brigade (Ground-based Midcourse Defense) were taking a swim at the base pool here Jan. 25.

Rather than donning swimsuits, they were in full uniform, complete with ruck sack and rubberized M-16s. The Soldiers were participating in water survival training.

The training, which included some Soldiers from the 117th Space Battalion, and 1st Space Brigade, combined elements of Army Training Circular 21-21, Water Survival Training with Physical Fitness elements.

The first job was to test the swimming abilities of the Soldiers by having them tread water in their uniform, boots and helmet for 2.5 minutes.

"I consider myself a strong swimmer," remarked Sgt. Cristina Cost, a LAN manager with the 100th MDB. "With uniform, boots and gear on, it was a lot more challenging than I thought it would be."

Next, Capt. Ronald Bailey, demonstrated how to water proof a ruck sack. He placed a ruck sack full of clothing items into a plastic bag, removed the air and sealed the top with 550 cord, which made the ruck sack buoyant enough to float on.

"This was a bit of a confidence check," said Bailey. "Many of the Soldiers were genuinely surprised at just how buoyant a water proofed ruck could be. Now when you add your basic load it should maintain at least neutral buoyancy."

Then the two groups of Soldiers went through a series of water survival drills, from swimming tactically with aweapon and ruck sack to simply treading water with a ruck sack on.

"This was excellent, well put together training," said Staff Sgt. Clayton Mullins. "It was a great opportunity to jump in the pool with all your gear on!"

The training was well received with a good turnout. It provided some good basic Soldiers skills while having a good time.