66th Training Squadron Det. 2 [66th TRS Det. 2]
The United States Air Force (USAF) Water Survival School, (Detachment 2, 66th Training Squadron) is located at Naval Air Station Pensacola, FL, and is assigned to the 336th Training Group headquartered at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington. The Group, a component of Air Education and Training Command, is responsible for training USAF aircrew members to survive in any environment in the world.
The USAF Water Survival School became fully operational on July 1971, replacing schools in Japan, Okinawa, and Northwest Florida. Since then, the school has graduated more than 100,000 students.
The school's mission is to ensure each student is prepared to survive an ejection or bailout at sea. Subjects taught include: parachuting into water, survival equipment, search and rescue techniques, medical and psychological aspects of sea survival, sustenance, and hazardous marine life. Hands-on training is emphasized, and a "stepping stone" approach is used to gradually bring the students up to proficiency in using their equipment.
The USAF Water Survival School trains in Pensacola Bay. Under controlled conditions, students are placed in situations similar to what they might encounter in an actual emergency.
Students receive one day of academic training, one day of hands-on equipment training, and two days of open-water training. This includes life raft survival, psychological, and physiological stress training, as well as large vessel and helicopter pickups. Each student parachutes into an open saltwater environment three times, using standardized water entry and recovery procedures.
The school graduates over 1,400 crewmembers a year from its 3 1/2 day course--this includes active duty Air Force, Air National Guard, and Reserve members. Select Army, Navy, and personnel from allied countries have also completed Air Force water survival training.
The USAF water survival School has been operating on Naval Air Station Pensacola since may of 1994. Our operations were moved here as part of the ITRO (Interservice Training Review Organization) consolidation process that was in effect at the time. We had abandoned Homestead AFB after its destruction by Hurricane Andrew in August of 1992. We spent nearly two years at Tyndall AFB before coming to Pensacola. Once operations began in Pensacola the Squadron was downgraded to a Detachment and fell under the 66th Training Squadron at Fairchild AFB instead of under the 336th Training Group (also at Fairchild). We have continued to provide the world's best water survival training to America's warriors.
Detachment 2, 66th TRS, traces its origins to the 17th Training Squadron (Water Survival School). Formal water survival training (Sea Survival School) was originally started by TAC at Langley AFB in 1962 and moved to Homestead AFB in 1966 (4550 School Squadron, Sea Survival).
In July 1971, formal USAF survival training was consolidated under ATC and the USAF water survival school (3613th Combat Crew Training Squadron) was formed at Homestead AFB. In August 1992, the 3613th CCTS relocated to Tyndall AFB following the destruction of Homestead AFB by Hurricane Andrew. The unit resumed training in December 1992, before being re-designated as the 17th CTS in January 1993; as the 17th TS in April 1994; and a final re-designation as the 17th TRS in September 1994.
In June 1994, the 17th TRS relocated to NAS Pensacola, FL, resuming training in July.
It was redesignated in December 1996, as Detachment 2, 66th Training Squadron.
Detachment 2, 66th TRS is tasked with training aircrews to survive over-water ejection/bailout situations. Its students undergo chronologically sequenced event training which emphasizes "hands-on" stepping stone approach. Realistic training is the key ingredient for all graduates operational success. The course builds confidence in the ability to survive over-water ejections/bailouts.
Attendance is a one-time requirement for Air Force flyers assigned to parachute-equipped weapon systems. The school conducts 48/49 classes per year with approximately 82,000 students having graduated since 1971.
Specific training tasks include:
- Procedural training
- Parachute descent tower
- Parachute disentanglement trainer
- Life Rafts (boarding practice)
- Helicopter pickup devices trainer
- Parachuting procedures into water, accomplished by training tower and actual parasail rides
- Use of survival equipment - rafts, survival kits, accessories
- Rescue and recovery techniques
- Medical and psychological aspects of sea survival
- Sustenance in open-water
- Marine life and hazards of open-water exposure
- Open-water training conducted in Pensacola Bay
- Combat considerations
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|