Survival of the wettest

Ryan Wilkinson

Training teaches Air Force ROTC cadets water skills, camaraderie


Captain Tom Fiordelisi peers down at cadet Mary Clause, junior political science major, after she jumped off the diving platform in Akron University’s Ocasek Natatorium yesterday. Kent State ROTC cadets were

Credit: Adam Griffiths

Most people put on a swimsuit before they jump into a pool.

Air Force ROTC cadets, though, aren’t most people — they swim fully clothed.

About 60 Air Force ROTC cadets gathered at the University of Akron’s Ocasek Natatorium yesterday for combat water survival training.

The training, however, was an unusual addition to the Air Force ROTC cadets’ experience.

“This is in no way required by the Air Force,” said Chalie Galliand, junior aeronautical studies major. “The overall purpose for doing it today is for what the military calls ‘esprit de corps.'”

‘Esprit de corps’ means camaraderie.

Galliand and fellow Air Force ROTC cadet Neale Linge planned the event. Both cadets have had prior military experience in different branches.

“We both have had this training in our prior service,” said Linge, junior history major. “We wanted the rest of the cadets to have a good time and also experience some aspects of actual military training.”

Galliand and Linge coordinated with the Akron Army ROTC to finalize the event. Combat water survival training is a required part of the Army ROTC curriculum.

The Air Force ROTC cadets had the opportunity to work through a series of stations meant to give them experience in possible water survival situations.

They jumped from a three-meter high-dive with a mock rifle, practiced techniques for swimming with their gear and even learned to make flotation devices from their pants.

“This is the first time we’ve done anything water-related,” said Bill Mauro, sophomore flight technology major. “We will eventually get this training again, but it is fun for the time being.”

While some cadets were nervous before jumping from the high-dive, others had a background in swimming to fall back on.

“I was not really nervous,” said Adam Tymoszczuk, freshman flight technology major, “I’ve swam for most of my life.”

Genevieve Whitworth, freshman nursing major, said she really enjoyed the training.

“It was so awesome,” she said. “I haven’t had this much fun in a long time. This is definitely something we should do again.”

Linge agreed.

“It was an outstanding exercise,” he said. “I hope we have the chance to do it again in the future.”

Contact ROTC and Greek Life beat reporter Ryan Wilkinson at [email protected].


PHOTOS: Leslie Cusano | Daily Kent Stater