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Australian, Mexican militaries conduct SWET during RIMPAC

US Marine Corps News

By Sgt. Sarah Dietz | Marine Corps Base Hawaii | July 18, 2014

MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII -- Australian Army and Mexican Naval Infantry Force service members conducted shallow water egress training at the Marine Corps Base Hawaii pool, July 1, 2014 as part of the 2014 Rim of the Pacific exercise.

During the training, participants learned to breathe compressed air and exit a cage while submerged upside down under water, simulating the experience of being in a downed aircraft. This helps prepare service members for maritime operations and fl ights over water.

"The training is all about confidence," said Benjamin Keaton, underwater egress instructor and assistant site manager for the program aboard MCB Hawaii. "The sense of calm you gain from this knowledge is not something we can teach, it has to be learned in the water. If they are confi dent here in a controlled environment, they will remain calm in a real-life situation."

Spanish-speaking U.S. Marines translated instructions for the Mexican Marines who could not speak English. Despite the language barrier, Keaton said the mission was accomplished and the participating countries excelled.

"This is the first time we trained two countries at once," Keaton said. "We usually don't see that kind of confidence built in such a short amount of time. Today went extremely well."

The training also provided an opportunity for the three participating nations to interact and build relationships.

"It's good to see the way different countries operate," said Mexican Naval Infantry Force Lt. Manuel Santibanez, with the 5th Battalion Infantry Section."The training is very different. We can take what we learn here back with us. It is important to build relationships so if we combine forces in the future we will have worked together already."

Australian Army Pvt. Matthew Davy said he has never left Australia and his experiences with RIMPAC thus far, including SWET, have been good.

"The Marines are very welcoming," Davy said. "It's good to get away and do quality training with other militaries. It's interesting to see how other countries operate differently."

SWET training is one portion of RIMPAC's Harbor Phase, the first of a three-phased schedule. For ground forces, the Harbor Phase also includes live-fi re ranges, helicopter operations, military operations on urban terrain and classroom instruction.

The group will also participate in the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab's Advanced Warfighting Experiment where multinational company-sized landing teams will conduct multiple training evolutions across the Hawaiian Islands using experimental military equipment to test practical usage in urban, water and jungle environments.

Twenty-two nations, 49 ships, six submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC, a biennial, multinational maritime exercise held in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. RIMPAC 2014 is the 24th exercise in the series that began in 1971.

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