Air Station Traverse City air crews get wet during training


Guest post by Lt. Karyn Forsyth, Air Station Traverse City public affairs officer

Today, aircrew members from Air Station Traverse City, Mich., conducted their annual wet drills in Grand Traverse Bay, Mich., with the new LRU-25 life raft, which will soon replace the LRU-20/A life raft.

Members reported to the training area in their orange Aircrew Dry Coveralls (ADC) with neoprene hood and gloves and were placed in small groups, which rotated through various stations throughout the day. Members at each training station received information from unit rescue swimmers on land and water survival.

“It’s our shop’s chance to show what we know” said Chief Petty Officer Douglas Lathrop, aviation survival technician at Air Station Traverse City. “It’s also timely training before winter to identify any problems in your ADC.”

Petty Officer 1st Class Kevin Ott, who transferred from Kodiak, Alaska, brings a wealth of cold weather experience from his seven years in Alaska and what he learned in Survival Instructor School.

“We’re not just training Coast Guard survival; the training is applicable during every member’s own personal, off-duty time,” said Ott. “We’re teaching them the seven steps of survival and showing them how to survive in those situations in and outside of work.”

The rescue swimmers provided realistic and fun training. There were many new members participating in wet drills this year, including Petty Officer 3rd Class Chad Whetsel.

“I feel the experience thoroughly prepared me for an emergency situation,” said Whetsel. “It was also a lot of fun.”

All the members at the unit enjoyed the training and immediately noticed the enhanced capabilities of the new LRU-25 raft.

“There is more space available – you can potentially fit your entire crew with a few survivors in there comfortably compared to the old one, in which you were pretty crammed for space,” said Lt. Edward Dipierro.

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