We were all in it together, cadets and adults, learning something new and sort of scary. We really came together as a team, especially during the aircraft egress part of the training. And we did have a lot of laughs along the way. In the end, that sort of team dynamic is what is going to make the training stick for all of us.

– C/2d Lt Peter Herrington, West Oahu Composite Squadron
Col. Pat Collins (third from left) provides aircraft egress training during an overwater survival training class on May 11, 2019. Photo by Lt. Col. Bob Becka, Hawaii Wing Civil Air Patrol.

HONOLULU, Hawaii – Basking in the warmth of the sun, youth and adult members of Hawaii Wing Civil Air Patrol (CAP) were all smiles and laughter waiting at Hickam Beach for their groups to be called into the water. Next on the agenda was a swim test and practice entry into a survival raft, marking the conclusion of their Overwater Survival Training. 

Civil Air Patrol Colonel Pat Collins, a pilot for Pacific Air Charters and Hawaii Wing’s Director of Standardization and Evaluation, was the course coordinator for the overwater survival training class on May 11th. Many of the members in attendance were “regulars” at Hawaii Wing’s weekend training events, and while this weekend included the usual 3-hour block of classroom time on the schedule, training at the CAP hangar and the beach injected an extra dose of fun into an otherwise serious matter.

“In order to ensure the safety of our crew members when flying in an overwater environment, we require them to complete water survival training every two years,” explained Collins. Hawaii Wing Civil Air Patrol routinely provides aerial photography, emergency beacon location, and tsunami warning services for the island chain, taking aircrews over water during the majority of flights.

Civil Air Patrol members swim back to shore during the overwater survival training swim test at Hickam Beach on May 11, 2019. Photo by Capt. Jen Herrington, Hawaii Wing Civil Air Patrol.

The overwater survival training includes classroom instruction, aircraft egress training, a 50-foot swim, treading water for 10 minutes, and entry into a survival raft. This training, in addition to survival equipment in CAP aircraft, substantially increases the odds of members surviving a water entry given a power failure during flight.

Col. Pat Collins gives Civil Air Patrol members a thumbs-up during a swim test at Hickam Beach on May 11, 2019. The cadets and adult volunteers participating in the test were completing requirements for Hawaii Wing’s overwater survival training course. Photo by Capt. Jen Herrington, Hawaii Wing Civil Air Patrol.
Hawaii Wing Civil Air Patrol members tread water at Hickam Beach during an overwater survival training course on May 11, 2019. Photo by Capt. Jen Herrington, Hawaii Wing Civil Air Patrol.

The class is one example of the vast amount of training available to CAP cadets and adult volunteers in support of CAP’s three missions – Aerospace Education, Cadet Programs, and Emergency Services. These missions are served by a variety of disciplines within CAP, including but not limited to aviation, finance, communications, emergency response, risk management, and logistics. Volunteers often bring relevant skillsets and knowledge with them when they join the organization, but most volunteers also gain new skills and expertise through the additional training available to CAP members.

Col. Pat Collins, Hawaii Wing Civil Air Patrol Director of Standardization and Evaluation, signals time remaining for members treading water during an overwater survival training course held at Hickam Beach on May 11, 2019. Photo by Capt. Jen Herrington, Hawaii Wing Civil Air Patrol.
Hawaii Wing Civil Air Patrol members practice life raft entry during an overwater survival training course held at Hickam Beach on May 11, 2019. Photo by Capt. Jen Herrington, Hawaii Wing Civil Air Patrol.

For the cadets, who are accustomed to training events aimed at their development as youth leaders, seeing the adults work alongside them to learn something new gave the cadets a deeper appreciation for their mentors and the learning experience.

Cadet Second Lieutenant Peter Herrington, from West Oahu Composite Squadron, had this to say about the experience: “I was really nervous when I signed up for the training, but then I saw how serious the adults were about learning the information for themselves. We were all in it together, cadets and adults, learning something new and sort of scary. We really came together as a team, especially during the aircraft egress part of the training. And we did have a lot of laughs along the way. In the end, that sort of team dynamic is what is going to make the training stick for all of us.” 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,