6-52 Soldiers get Summer Safety training
Story and photos by Capt. Austin Liu
6-52 Air Defense Artillery Battalion
SUWON AIR BASE — With the summer season just around the corner, Soldiers from the 6th Battalion, 52nd Air Defense Artillery recently went through a comprehensive summer safety training here, learning how to prevent and react to some of the common safety hazards associated with this time of the year.
The training, from May 23-25, consisted of classroom instruction and practical exercises on topics such as fire and grilling safety, hot weather injury prevention, survival swimming, and motor vehicle safety training.
Sergeant Keith Myles is an avid swimmer who is looking forward to the wide variety of water sports available in Korea. So he welcomed the chance to hone his skills at the survival stroke, a technique which conserves energy and prevents muscle fatigue in case a swimmer needs to stay afloat for a prolonged time.
“This is great training,” Myles said. “Soldiers are learning how to prevent overexertion and increase survivability in the water if they ever fell overboard on a boat or hurt themselves during water sports.”
According to Myles, all swimmers, no matter the skill level, are “susceptible to muscle fatigue,” so it is crucial for everyone to learn the survival stroke.
The instructors separated the advanced swimmers from less skilled ones and provided individual feedback on ways to improve.
“I cannot emphasize how important water safety training is, especially as we head into summer,” said 1st Lt. Steve Bonner, one of the primary instructors and a former Army diver.
Myles concluded, “The training has definitely made me feel more prepared and more equipped next time I go into the water.”
In addition to water sports, motorcycle riding is another popular summer past time here on the Peninsula.
First Lieutenant Steve Voglezon has been riding motorcycles for over a year now and is planning to explore the beautiful Korean countryside this summer with his Hyosung GT650R motorcycle.
During the motorcycle safety portion, Voglezon goes over his safety checklist three times to make sure he and his bike are ready for the road. Voglezon is participating in the battalion’s motorcycle mentorship club, which teaches riders safety lessons on conducting inspections and checks, as well as donning appropriate protective gear.
An essential part of the motorcycle training included road familiarization.
“We paired inexperienced riders with experienced riders to foster a creative environment for responsible riding,” said Capt. Jeffrey Freeman, officer in charge of the battalion’s motorcycle mentorship program.
As the team of Harleys and Japanese sports bikes cruised through the winding roads of Osan and Pyeontaek, participants also learned valuable lessons on group riding techniques.
“There is a common misconception that it is dangerous to ride in Korea,” said Lt. Col. William Darne, 6-52 commander and a motorcycle enthusiast. “However, through the motorcycle mentorship program, we want to educate everyone that by wearing the appropriate protective gear, practicing defense riding techniques, and maintaining constant situation awareness, riding motorcycle in Korea can indeed be fun, fulfilling, and safe.”