AUGUST 10, 2016, MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, N.C. – Marines are known to have the ability to adapt and overcome to any given situation, enabling them to respond quickly and efficiently to any situation that they may encounter. For Marines stationed around the world there is training available to deal with certain situations without having to improvise, such as scenarios dealing with aquatic helicopter crashes.
The “Helo Dunker” or modular amphibious egress trainer is a lifesaving course that provides service members with the skills and confidence too successfully and safely egress out of a helicopter that has suffered a controlled or uncontrolled landing within a body of water. “This training while difficult is just going to benefit me in case of an accident,” said Lance Cpl. Baeden Harrison, a supply administration Marine with CLB-24. “The main goal for me is to be able to learn to work efficiently under stress.”
When properly loaded into the simulated helicopter Marines hear the words “ditching, ditching, ditching’. As soon as they hear those words they prepare to brace for impact. The water will seep through the floor and the windows, every second counts as the Marines prepare to escape the helicopter. The fear of the water can be a lot to handle but for the Marines of Combat Logistics Battalion 24, they prepare to raise the standard of readiness.
“This training is designed to save lives,” said Glenn LaMarque, an Under Water Training instructor. “We do this so that service members know how to react but also save themselves.”
The training is a requirement of the Marine Expeditionary Unit commanders, it provides the safest way of simulating an actual invent without actually crashing a helicopter. The instructors’ ultimate goal was to give the Marines the confidence that could save them and to raise the standard of Marine Corps training.
“It’s not a matter of “if”, it’s a matter of when,” said LaMarque. “Accidents will and can happen and it’s the Marines’ job to be prepared in case something like this ever occurs.”