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152nd Operations Group conducts water survival training with Navy

Helicopter Photo

An Airman from the 152nd Airlift Wing in Reno, Nev. gets hoisted out of the water at Lahontan Reservoir June 5, 2021. The 152nd Airlift Wing conducted joint water survival training with the NAS Fallon SAR team.

Reno, Nev. --

The 152nd Airlift Wing conducted water survival training with the Naval Air Station Fallon Search and Rescue (SAR) Team at Lahontan Reservoir June 5.

More than 85 Airmen from the 152nd Operations Group completed the eight-station water survival course, intended to expose Airmen to dangerous situations they may encounter in bodies of water. The stations included swimming techniques, 20-man and one-man life rafts and entanglement training.

“We see this equipment in our C-130s on a daily basis but don’t have many opportunities to have hands on training with it,” said Capt. Ryan Leigh, 152nd Operations Group pilot and Air Flight Equipment officer in charge. “In a real-life scenario we would be using this equipment on the worst day of our lives. It’s good to start getting a feel for it and a refresher in a controlled environment, so we can be prepared for the worst case scenario and be able to focus on survival, not on remembering how to use the equipment. This training is vital to that.”

An MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter and the SAR team from Naval Air Station Fallon assisted in hoisting more than 25 Airmen out of the water, and assisted five Airmen in helocast jumps into the water from the helicopter.

“Any chance to train with new and different units is always a great opportunity,” said Lt. Ryan Govoni, pilot, Naval Air Station Fallon Search and Rescue. “Not only does it reinforce the operational abilities of everyone involved, it creates unique learning opportunities for us. Improving our skills by learning from other units only makes us better and safer.”

The joint training was an opportunity for both units to gain experience working in environments and situations that they don’t typically encounter.

“Our primary mission is high altitude overland search and rescue, so we do most of our training geared towards that,” Govoni said. “When an opportunity comes up to practice our over water rescue procedures, we take it. Keeping proficient and water-rescue capable is necessary for us. This exercise today definitely helped keep those skills sharp.”

Airmen from the 152nd Airlift Wing also gained valuable skills by participating in the joint training.

“This weekend was a good opportunity for growth not only as an Airman, but also as an AFE specialist,” said Airman First Class Bailey Brown, 152nd Operations Group AFE Specialist. “I am so grateful to have had the opportunity not only to work with the Navy, but to have been trained in being hoisted by one of their helicopters.”

The Airmen from the 152nd Operations Group were also trained by other members of the wing in things such as evasion in the open sea, the psychological effects of being stranded at sea, and edible versus non edible food in both foreign and domestic aquatic environments.

“What we do here is vital to the survivability of all air crew and the end result is greater mission success,” said Tech. Sgt. Sean J. Bird, AFE specialist. “The cohesion of this weekend’s events really showcased the fact that we can come together to not only get the job done, but also strengthen our bond as High Rollers.”