Local News

Fort Bragg Special Forces Become Drown Proof

Posted April 14, 1998

— Soldiers from the 3rd Special Forces Group swim for 22 minutes with their arms and legs tied up.

This Drown Proofing Exercise is one of many the elite group is required to master before becoming a member of the Army's combat diving team.

"We want to teach them confidence in the water, stealth in the water, to be as quiet as possible and to move as quickly as possible," said Robert Hash of the 3rd Special Forces Group.

These techniques are used to infiltrate enemy territory. The soldiers perfect the moves to prevent any disturbance in the water, which is something even the most modern underwater machines cannot do better than the soldiers themselves.

The methods the group are learning date back to World War II.

Soldiers like John Brennan are physically and mentally challenged to prepare for the certification course.

The training is an exhausting four week course that can shed 20 pounds off a person in tip top shape.

"What hurts now, pretty much everything below the waist," Brennan said. "Your legs cramp up, it's pretty heinous when you get shackled for drown proofing."

Being physically prepared for the real thing is all the proof divers need to realize that the pain and suffering was worth the training.

During a real mission, soldiers are often required to swim more than two miles to enemy shore. Each soldier carries with them more than 75 pounds of weapons and equipment.

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