Combat Control Pre SCUBA Video
2/11/2009 - HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. (AFNS) -- Spending
hours in a pool in the warm Florida sun may sound like a vacation, but
for trainees at the Air Force Special Operations Training Center's
Special Tactics Training Squadron here, it's anything but.
For these trainees, each
of whom is a three-level Combat Controller, spending hours in a pool is
all part of the training to earn their five level certification. The
STTS teaches these trainees advanced skills they will need before being
assigned to their first operational units.
"The first phase is
pre-scuba training and the trainees will spend anywhere from three to
four hours in the pool at one time," said Tech. Sgt. Nathan Salvemini,
STTS superintendent of formal training. "Then they will normally have a
couple more hours of remedial training at the end of the day."
purpose of this
training is to familiarize the trainees with the basics of water
operations. The trainees perform tasks such as tying knots underwater,
learning how to stay afloat without their arms and hands, how to
perform "buddy breathing" and how to use snorkeling gear.
But the course also
teaches the trainees how to deal with the intangibles of water
"Everyone has a basic
fear of water," said Master Sgt. Duane Sadler, a Combat Controller and
STTS instructor. "This course allows these guys to learn how to
overcome this fear and not panic in stressful situations.
The pre-scuba training
course lasts four to eight weeks and prepares the trainees for the next
step in their water training -- the Air Force Combat Diver Course in
Panama City, Fla.
"We instituted the
pre-scuba course to better prepare our trainees for the intense
training they will receive at the combat diver course," said Maj. Chris
Larkin, STTS commander. "Since we started this, we haven't lost anyone
in further training and typically the honor graduate will be one of our
This is because the
Airmen have developed the confidence to know they can surpass their
limits and perform effectively in any situation they may find
themselves while in the water, he added.
"This training does
definitely help," said 2nd Lt. Nate Smith, an advanced skills trainee.
"It's challenging, but it shows you how to overcome stress, not panic
and accomplish the mission. It shows you can do more than you thought
you were capable of, too."
This message will help
the trainees throughout their advanced training. The pre-scuba training
is only one small part of the lengthy process it takes to become a
"All said and done, it
takes a little more than two years to train one Combat Controller,"
Sergeant Sadler said.
This training includes
attending air traffic control school, the combat diver course, survival
training, airborne school and a 13-week basic Combat Controller
By the time the
controllers are assigned to their first operational unit, they have the
skills necessary to perform their missions in a real-world environment.
Which is good, since the
majority of these trainees will deploy shortly after accomplishing all
"That's what makes this
training so important," Sergeant Sadler said. "It gives these guys the
abilities and know-how to do what they're asked to do when they leave