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NEWS | July 10, 2014

Australian, Mexican Militaries Conduct SWET Training during RIMPAC

By Marine Sgt. Sarah Dietz

Australian Army and Mexican Naval Infantry Force service members conducted Shallow Water Egress Training at the pool here July 1 as part of the Rim of the Pacific Exercise 2014.

During SWET, participants were introduced to breathing with compressed air under water and exiting a simulated cage while submerged upside down. This training helps prepare service members for maritime operations.

“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 confident here in a controlled environment, they will remain calm in a real life situation.”

While training, Spanish speaking U.S. Marines acted as translators 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 build in such a short amount of time. Today went extremely well.”

The training also provided an opportunity for the three nations participating 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 the opportunity to conduct SWET and RIMPAC overall has been a good experience.

“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 fire ranges, helicopter operations, military operations on urban terrain town clearing and classroom instruction.

The group will also participate in the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab's Advanced Warfighting Experiment in which 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 the biennial RIMPAC exercise which is a multinational maritime exercise held biannually 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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