EL PASO, Texas - Members of the 1st Armored Division's Combat Aviation Brigade are getting specialized training as they prepare for their relief missions in Puerto Rico.
The pilots will be taking troops and emergency goods around the island.
They're not expected to fly directly over the ocean, but are getting ready for everything.
Soldiers are being strapped to a chair and dunked in a pool to train on what to do if something goes wrong and the aircraft ends up in the water.
“At first it’s a little discomfort, however you do know,and you keep in the back of your mind, that this training is to help us succeed if we do have to ditch in the water,” explained Chief Warrant Officer 2 Samantha Palmer, one of the mission pilots.
Once the soldiers are turned around they’re supposed to be simulating an aircraft going down on the ocean as we fly into Puerto Rico. They have only seconds to undo all the buckles and everything holding them down underwater in order to get out of the aircraft safely. AFter several runs it took some just ten seconds to free themselves and escape.
“As far as our instructors and the gentlemen who came out here, we’re ready to deploy for our future operations,” Palmer said.
While those operations are still not set in stone, there is one goal they all have: help fellow Americans in time of crisis.
“So we’re thinking we’re gonna go there, we know it’s no longer, well we believe it’s no longer a rescue mission at this time, but it’s more to help people get resources they don’t have,” said First Sergeant Anthony Knights.
The troops are expected to fly out to Puerto Rico this weekend.
CORRECTION: Samantha Palmer is a Chief Warrant Officer 2, not Chief Warrant Officer 1 as her name graphic read in the televised report