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Will the Army teach me how to swim

Have you ever wondered "will the Army teach me how to swim"? If so let's dive right on in and explore the answer.

The short answer is no. The long answer is, it depends. The majority of conventional forces units and jobs do not have a requirement to swim and won't teach you how. Some units may take the opportunity to put you in water survival training using the guidance from Training Circular (TC) 21-21.

In water survival training, there are 3 levels of proficiency to be accomplished by conducting a series of exercises designed to start slow and build your confidence by showing you how to use your equipment to help you float in an emergency situation. The exercises and levels of proficiency are listed below.


Exercise 1 - waterproofing the Rucksack

Exercise 2 - Travel Stroke Sequence

Exercise 3 - Pool Exit

Exercise 4 - Treading Water/Hanging Float

Exercise 5 - Travel Stroke (without Rucksack)

Exercise 6 - Five-Minute Buoyancy Test (Without Rucksack)


Exercise 1 - Rucksack Exercise

Exercise 2 - Two-Rucksack Exercise

Exercise 3 - Collar Tow Using Sidestroke

Exercise 4 - Trouser-Inflation Float


Exercise 1 - Two-Stroke Test

Exercise 2 - Underwater Swim

Exercise 3 - Jump/Swim

Exercise 4 - Treading Water/Hanging Float

I have conducted a few of these swim exercises in a unit before deployment. I already knew how to swim so this didn't do anything in that regard but the tests did help build my confidence that if jumped in water in full uniform I could use my equipment and even uniform to stay afloat.

There are a series of schools and reasons why the military would want you to learn how to swim and may help you learn if you don't know how. Ultimately this usually isn't the best place to begin learning how to swim and could be a detriment to your success. The swimming pools on the military installation generally have swimming lessons for adults as well as children that will help you.

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