Early Saturday Morning the parking lot next to the Price Desert Wave Pool looked like a military invasion. The 118th Sapper Company descended on the pool for part of its annual training.
The 118th Company is part of the 1457 National Guard Engineering Battalion. Master Sergeant Vance Lindsey explained that 50 members of the company needed to qualify in water survival skills.
The morning opened with a swim test in the indoor pool. Soldiers were required to jump in fully dressed, including a load bearing vest and a rubber weapon identical in weight to the one they carry. Soldiers had to float for a minimum of five minutes.
Blindfolded, soldiers stepped onto the diving board and were pushed off. They then had to right themselves in the water. Soldiers also had to pull off their boots and make flotation devices using their pants.
Finally, soldiers headed to the wave pool and, with six person crews, raced from the shallow end to the deep end and back. When in the deep end and waves at full blast, five members of each team had to vacate the boat and had to be pulled back in before they could head back to the shallow end.
“It was a little tough with those waves,” stated Master Sgt. Lindsey.
All members completed the training successfully. Lindsey said the training moves around to different locations in the state each year. The entire battalion was already in the area, making Price an ideal location for this year’s training.