Kirtland Airmen participate in survival training

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, New Mexico --

Kirtland Airmen got their feet wet Sept 27 during water survival training conducted by the 58th Operations Support Squadron.

Airmen from the 377th Force Support Squadron and 150th Special Operations Wing completed an overturned-aircraft simulation, compressed-air breathing exercises and various parachute escape exercises.

"The purpose is, in part, to learn about the mission of others, create partnerships and meet the intent of (20th Air Force Commander Maj.) Gen. (Anthony) Cotton's direction on cross connections," said Chief Master Sgt. Jener Tiongson, 377th FSS superintendent.

Tiongson said the exercises strengthen relationships and help unit members be more prepared to execute their mission more efficiently.

"Like everything else in the Air Force, things operate smoothly when people and organizations work together to understand each other's contribution to the mission," Tiongson said.  "Hopefully this gives us a stronger stake in the 58th's mission as well as help us build personal and unity partnerships."

The training was a first for 377th FSS Airmen, but 58th OSS and 150th SOW Airmen go through it regularly to ensure readiness in the event they found themselves in a similar real-world situation.

"It creates muscle memory that allows them to instinctively react before they can even comprehend the gravity of their situation," said Master Sgt. Wes Vinson, 58th OSS superintendent.  "This can't be taught in a PowerPoint; you have to know what it feels like and experience the fear in order to overcome it."

Although airmen from different squadrons participated for different reasons, all agreed the exercise was a fun way to spend the day.

"This is my third day on station and I got to spend 2 1/2 hours in a pool with senior leaders and really awesome equipment, said Airman Andrew Norman, 58th OSS aircrew flight equipment technician.  "It has definitely been an experience to remember."