ROTC cadets take the plunge while campus freezes

Amanda Kozma


Freshman nursing major Tomas Falkenburg struggles to keep his head above water in a ROTC combat training exercise that took place yesterday morning at Ocasek Natatorium at the University of Akron.


Credit: DKS Editors

While most people would dread the thought of jumping off a high dive blindfolded at 6 a.m., Army ROTC cadets look forward to the experience.

Army ROTC cadets traveled to the University of Akron’s Ocasek Natatorium yesterday to complete a water combat survival course.

“If we have to do anything around water, we need to be able to swim, and this training helps us to be prepared,” Army cadet David McDevitt said.

After completing a basic swim test, cadets were required to complete three stations of aquatic exercises. The senior Army ROTC cadets led their comrades as they jumped in the water, removed all equipment and swam 15 meters holding a mock rifle above water. Then, still holding the rifle, they jumped off a high dive.

“The high dive usually scares them the most,” Lt. Col. Joe Paydock, assistant professor of military sciences, said.

But the high dive didn’t scare anyone this time.

All the cadets successfully completed the course after they had a hat pulled over their eyes, were walked to the end of a high dive, then spun around and guided to jump off.

This was not the first time cadets had experienced this type of training. They normally do aquatic survival exercises three times a year because the cadets are required to pass this course to get commissioned.

While some might consider this type of training more appropriate for the Navy, Lt. Col. Dean Costas, professor of military science, said the real reason they do these types of activities is because soldiers are required to operate around a lot of water, and they don’t want soldiers to get into a situation where they can’t swim.

“Completion of the water combat survival course is required by the Army ROTC program before the end of a cadet’s junior year,” Costas said.

He said when the cadets go to Fort Lewis in the summer before their senior year, they are required to take a more difficult water training course.

Although the cadets completed the training with smiles and good spirits, the training is to be taken seriously. McDevitt was struck in the head with a mock rifle while doing the equipment drop and got a small scrape on his forehead. Despite the injury, McDevitt said he enjoys the activity because he likes to swim.

Costas said the cadets plan to learn more water survival techniques in March when they will learn to make flotation devices out of their clothes.

Contact ROTC reporter Amanda Kozma at [email protected].