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Pennsylvania, Tennessee Soldiers do water training in Poland

By 1st Lt. Kealy Moriarty | 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment, Tennessee Army National Guard | Aug. 20, 2019

GIZYCKO, Poland - Members from NATO's enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Poland, alongside members from the Polish 15th Mechanized Infantry Brigade participated in a water survival course Aug. 14.

Participants included Soldiers from the Pennsylvania and Tennessee Army National Guard, who are deployed in Poland supporting interoperability operations as part of NATO's eFP Battle Group Poland.

This three-day course took place at a beach where Soldiers challenged themselves on basic individual movements, water combatives, and aquatic evasion techniques.

"The water fighting course is a course designed for reconnaissance units and snipers, as well as for melee instructors and eFP Soldiers," said expert Krav Maga Cpt. Tomasz Dembinski, the instructor of the course. "The course teaches Soldiers how to be in aquatic environments, combat in extreme conditions and prepares Soldiers to act under high-stress situations."

"The aquatic environment is important as a factor in shaping mental resistance in combat," Dembinski continued.

Each day Soldiers progressed in training alongside one another by learning how to combat on land and in water. Soldiers shared lessons learned while repeating each critical action until they were all successful in each technique.

"We learned new techniques doing combatives in the water; I learned that there's a lot of endurance training that comes with anything in the water," said U.S. participant, Spc. John Kriner.

This grueling course challenged the Soldiers physically, but also provided U.S. and Polish soldiers the opportunity to train alongside one another.

"We have had a great opportunity to train with our Allies in the Polish Army on tactics and survival techniques while in the water," said U.S. participant, Staff Sgt. Andrew Hersman. "I am grateful to the instructor for everything I have learned and look forward to passing on this knowledge to my fellow Soldiers."

At the end of the third day, multinational Soldiers received a certificate of completion and a new appreciation for the water and each other.

"Polish and American Soldiers learned combat techniques in the melee, and self-defense Krav Maga system as part of the Poseidon course-participants learned fighting techniques during the course, but mainly practiced resistance to external conditions," said Dembrinski. "It was a training of the psyche aimed at overcoming barriers; the goal was to build a warrior spirit, the will to fight.

"Some elements of the course built teams and cooperation between participants, and as a leading instructor, I think it was a powerful group that did a great job," continued Dembrinski.