ROTC conducts Combat Water Survival Training

Samantha Meisenburg

The Army ROTC held their Combat Water Survival Training (CWST) from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. at Youngstown State University (YSU).

“CWST is a basic training of if a cadet can get himself out of trouble. Its not a race, it’s a question on whether the cadets can save themselves. Its just evaluating them on if they fall into water with a weapon, can they save themselves and save others,” Fox said.  

Announcements and rules of the training were read, and yellow wristbands were given to the weaker swimmers. CWST kicked off with two-pre events — a 10-minute swim and a 5-minute water tread. 

After arriving at YSU, the cadets went into the locker rooms, changed into a grey Army shirt and black shorts and rinsed those clothes with water to sanitize before jumping in the pool. Cadets also lined up to do the Physical Readiness Training (PRT) where they completed 10 stretches.

The purpose of this is to see if the cadets “can keep themselves moving through the water for 10 minutes in one of the four strokes — breast, crawl, side and back stroke,” Fox said.

“Then they have to tread water and float for five minutes. So we can know if they can survive with their head above the water and if they can breathe,” Fox said.

Once the cadets pass these pre-events, they headed into the evaluation portion of the training. If the cadets cannot pass, they go to remedial training off to the side of the pool. Once they pass, they will be able to take part in the evaluation portion.

“This training is not a progression, once you have completed it, it is done and once you pass it you don’t have to do this training again,” said Cadet Nicholas Paull, a junior criminal justice major.

The training is held every semester and each cadet gets two tries at each event. All the cadets that did not pass can attempt it again next semester or any other semester they are in ROTC.

“It is a commission requirement and a training requirement and if a cadet ultimately can’t pass we will have to have a frank discussion in the office because it is an requirement to become an officer in the United States Army,” Fox said.

Today, 15 cadets ran the training, and 40 cadets (22 from Kent State) participated. Only eight did not pass the 15-meter swim.

Last semester, the Army ROTC had its CWST but no cadets were allowed to receive certification for passing because the training events did not meet the national standards.

For the evaluation portion of the training, the cadets put on their uniform with a low-bearing vest and have to complete three tasks: equipment removal in 9 feet of water; swim 15 meters, keeping their rubber rifle out of the water; and a 3-meter blindfolded board fall, where they have to control their weapon and not let go of it, and swim back to the edge of the pool. 

“The rotation was very fluent between all of the events and there was a better system of grading and keeping track of who passed and failed and making sure that we stuck to regulation,” said Samuel Wiener, senior economics major, and one of the cadets in charge.

Brittany Martin, senior marketing major, thought the person in charge last semester should have put a little more initiative into making sure everything was right.

“Leadership made a mistake but the new leadership had the chance to build on those mistakes and although they weren’t personal mistakes they learned from other peoples mistakes and corrected them,” Martin said. 

Cadet Robert Stephenson, freshman business management major, and Cadet Trevor Prindle, senior physical education major, both passed the training last semester but had to redo it for this semester.

“This time everything was perfect and well put together and I still maintained a pass,” Stephenson said. “Just being able to do this with your brothers and sisters is amazing and when you finish, it’s the best feeling in the world.”

“I feel pretty good right now, but if I find out that something was done wrong again, I’m not going to be happy about it,” Prindle said.

The CWST ended with an After Action Review (AAR), where the cadets critique the training program. 

For more information contact Samantha Meisenburg at [email protected].