Breaching the surface of the water, a Marine gasped for air only to be forced back down seconds later.

Marines from 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division participated in a two-week pre-dive course at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, March 7.

“The Marines will do five minutes of bobs with their hands and feet tied, two minutes floating with their hands and feet tied, and approximately 100 meters with their hands and feet bound,” said Sgt. Conner Rees, a pre-dive instructor with 2nd Recon. “After that, there are various other tasks that they have to do with their hands and feet tied, underwater.”

The course aims to prepare Marines for Combatant Divers Course, an eight-week school designed to teach students how to thrive in the water while in a combat zone, taught in Panama City, Florida.

“We’re getting more familiar with how the water works and learning to pass some of the tests they will have at dive school,” said 1st Lt. John Powers, a student in the course. “We’re fine-tuning our swim strokes and things of that nature to prepare for it.”

Besides the physical conditioning, the pre-dive course serves to develop unit cohesion and mental toughness associated with being in the water in a stressful environment.

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Photo courtesy of Lance Cpl. Jonathan Sosner