Comayagua, Honduras –
U.S. service members attached to Joint Task Force-Bravo, Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras, conducted the second iteration of overwater survival training at Puerto Castilla and Trujillo Bay, Honduras, from April 16-23, 2021.
The training exercise consisted of a safe and deliberate approach to getting service members confident in their abilities to respond in the event of an overwater emergency, such as a downed aircraft or a recovery mission in open water.
“Everyone started out with the basic techniques which allowed us to roll right into real iterations - more than we have ever been able to in the past,” said U.S. Army Capt. Gabriel Beck, OIC of training and the commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 228th Aviation Regiment Bravo Company.
On the first day of training, basic swim survival was conducted to prepare and ensure the safety of all participants for the live iterations later in the week. This included raft training, shallow-water egress training, medical readiness training, caving ladder training, and helocast practice off a dock to simulate jumping out of an aircraft.
“This sort of training is really critical for the type of operations that JTF-B manages in Central America,” said U.S. Army Maj. Brian Malloy, acting castmaster at overwater survival training and the deputy J7 engineer assigned to Joint Task Force-Bravo. “Being in an area of operations where they often fly over water, the aircrew honed their skills to be able to safely navigate over water and survive in the case of an emergency.”
This training allowed members of JTF-B to prepare for potential future joint operations with our Central American partners and to enhance readiness for overwater survivability.
Last year, JTF-B worked alongside partner nations to support rescue operations of those affected by hurricanes Eta and Iota. The training conducted over the past 10 days ensured that JTF-B can facilitate humanitarian aid and disaster response in the future, if needed, again.
Over 100 service members with the 1-228th Aviation Regiment, the Combat Support Hospital, Puerto Rican National Guard members, Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape (SERE) members, and other elements from Joint Task Force-Bravo worked together to make the training a success.
“The amount of training everyone got out of it has been really incredible to watch, because that training is difficult to replicate in any other scenario,” said Malloy. “Being able to bring together all these different, diverse members from across the task force in such a tough and realistic training environment was fantastic to see.”