Army Reserves hold training exercise at Cape Coral Yacht Club

CREATED Apr 6, 2014 - UPDATED: Apr 7, 2014

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CAPE CORAL, Fla. - Members of the 365th Engineer Company teamed up with local agencies for a training exercise at the Cape Coral Yacht Club Sunday morning.

Dozens of soldiers participated in the "Sapper Swim" in the Caloosahatchee River. The soldiers left the shore in groups of ten and jumped out of a moving boat into the water.

"You're standing on the edge, about to do it, and they are holding on to you and your nerves start coming in," PFC John Callahan said.

After jumping in, the soldiers had to swim 800 meters to shore in full uniform.

"It's a test of physical endurance, muscular endurance and the will to continue," 365th Engineer Company Commander, Cpt. Ron Watson, said.

After fighting the wind and a heavy current, the soldiers made it to shore in pairs, collapsing on the beach and waiting for the rest of the team to finish.

"You're finally coming up on the land, you're like, 'ah I can walk I don't have to swim!' It's relieving, a very relieving feeling," Callahan said.

The exercise was meant to develop confidence so it wasn't timed, but Callahan says it was a lot harder than he thought it would be.

"I was expecting oh yeah I can swim, I swim in pools all the time, but you've got the current the waves the whip lash right after the boat, it was hard," Callahan said.

The operation also gave the Company, which is new to town, a chance to work alongside local agencies, like Cape Coral Fire and EMS, Cape Coral Police and the Auxiliary Coast Guard.

"The emergency shouldn't be the first time we should meet. It gives us an opportunity to learn their procedures and a chance for them to learn ours," Watson said.

Besides learning tactics and teamwork, Callahan says he learned another valuable lesson: "Don't stop swimming, just keep swimming,"