Cavalry Soldiers splash through water operations training

Virginia National Guard Soldiers from the Virginia Beach-based Charlie Troop, 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team conduct combat rubber raiding craft familiarization April 8-9, 2017, at Virginia Beach, Virginia. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Amanda H. Johnson)

Virginia National Guard Soldiers from the Virginia Beach-based Charlie Troop, 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team conduct combat rubber raiding craft familiarization April 8-9, 2017, at Virginia Beach, Virginia. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Amanda H. Johnson)

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Virginia National Guard Soldiers from the Virginia Beach-based Charlie Troop, 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team conducted Army Combat Water Survival Training and combat rubber raiding craft familiarization April 8-9, 2017, at Virginia Beach, Virginia. The drill weekend focused on individual training tasks and small boat operations.

Virginia National Guard Soldiers from Virginia Beach-based Charlie Troop, 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team conduct combat rubber raiding craft familiarization April 8-9, 2017, at Virginia Beach, Virginia. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Amanda H. Johnson)

Virginia National Guard Soldiers from Virginia Beach-based Charlie Troop, 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team conduct combat rubber raiding craft familiarization April 8-9, 2017, at Virginia Beach, Virginia. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Amanda H. Johnson)

“We spend three months out of every year training on combat rubber raiding crafts,” said Capt. Mark Ford, commander of Charlie Troop. Small boat operations allow an alternative method of entrance and exit to an area for reconnaissance, Ford explained. “It gives us one more way to get to an objective and get eyes on.”

Before Soldiers can participate in small boat operations, they must attain level three qualification in the Combat Water Survival Test, or CWST, explained Sgt. Casey Jones, an infantryman and administrative noncommissioned officer for Charlie Troop. The unit conducted CWST on Saturday, April 8, to qualify new Soldiers to participate in the water craft training.

CWST consists of basic individual maneuvers in the water with a weapon and rucksack while treading water. In level one, which is the most advanced level, a Soldier treads water for 45 minutes. This builds a Soldier’s confidence in the water, according to Jones.

“Thirty percent of the unit are new Soldiers who have never touched a boat,” said Ford. Focusing on individual training and basic combat rubber raiding craft operations set a foundation for the unit to build upon. In addition to new Soldiers, several have recently returned from deployments and needed refresher training, said Ford. “This is going to lead into future training where we do a little more advanced stuff with the team and platoon in a tactical setting.”

Virginia National Guard Soldiers from Virginia Beach-based Charlie Troop, 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team conduct Army Combat Water Survival Training April 8-9, 2017, at Virginia Beach, Virginia. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Amanda H. Johnson)

Virginia National Guard Soldiers from Virginia Beach-based Charlie Troop, 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team conduct Army Combat Water Survival Training April 8-9, 2017, at Virginia Beach, Virginia. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Amanda H. Johnson)


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