CJTF-HOA sea survival course boosts Kenyan security
Soldiers and Sailors from Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa's 411th Civil Affairs Battalion, Maritime Civil Affairs Team 212 and several Kenyan organizations recently held Basic Sea Survival training for Kenyan security personnel in Mtwapa, Kenya.
The training strengthens security in Kenya, which has 18 prisons near its coast, rivers and lakes. Prisoners, including violent extremists, use the waterways to escape and many guards do not know how to swim, enabling the prisoners to get away. In other cases, some guards have drowned pursuing escaping prisoners.
Kenya supports CJTF-HOA's mission to stabilize and strengthen security in East Africa and contributes troops to the African Union Mission in Somalia, a peacekeeping force to defeat violent extremists in Somalia.
At the four-day course, members of the Kenya Prison Service learned basic first aid, water safety, different swim strokes, and how to use ordinary objects, such as a pair of pants, for flotation devices. Members of the Kenya Wildlife Service Maritime Mombasa, Malindi Red Cross, Kenya Red Cross and Mombasa Red Cross assisted the CJTF-HOA service members during the course.
"During day one, I was able to see the fear in them, and they asked many questions about how to swim," said U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class James Sanchez, MCAT 212 team member. "As the training progressed, everyone's motivation to perform and learn was obvious. The instructors and I soon saw their fear of drowning was no longer there."
Sanchez said the students told him if they felt if they have to swim, their newly acquired skills would allow them to prevail.
Seventy-one officers from 18 different prisons attended the course.
"It was a very rewarding experience for me and my team," said Sanchez, a Reservist from Pennslyvania who is also a Philadelphia police officer. "Once the training was done, everyone asked for more."