My Army Stories

Visit »
Log In

CWST (Combat Water Survival Test)

February 23, 2011 | First Lieutenant Matthew Flynn


The CWST (Combat Water Survival Test) was broken into three different phases.

1) Swim across the pool with a M-16 (we actually used "rubber ducks" which are fake M-16's that weigh the same but are made out of rubber)
2) Jump into the pool with a LBV (Load Bearing Vest) and M-16 (Again rubber duck), drop the rifle and remove the vest, resurface and swim to the edge of the pool.
3) Walk off diving board blindfolded and swim to the edge of the pool. Video is located below.

Swimming across was fairly easy, as a previous certified lifeguard---I have no problems swimming.  Jumping in with the LBV on and taking it off was also a piece a cake. The only challenge is making sure you get deep enough in the water to fully remove the LBV.

The most difficult challenge for me was the walking off the diving board blindfolded. In concept it is a very easy task to accomplish, and I would have been perfectly fine doing it without being blindfolded. However, being lead to an edge of a board by verbal commands, and being told to walk off without having any visual aid whatsoever....was VERY terrifying for me. This challenge was able to strike a phobia that I never realized I had.

I passed all three challenges with flying colors on the first try. Everything being considered, it was nice to do something different for PT rather than the same run and exercises.



  • Nicholas Kerr
    2/27/2011 2:12 AM
    Thanks! Our battalion is doing this for ROTC lab next Saturday and I was kind of curious what the CWST entailed.
  • Matt Flynn
    3/1/2011 1:00 PM
    Let me know how it goes for you! If your a relatively strong swimmer, it should be easy!
  • Liam brown
    7/23/2012 2:15 AM
    I'm going into my junior year in high school, and can't wait till I can sign up for ROTC. My mom went to clarkson, and I want to check out the campus and the battalion. Can you give me any idea of how hard it is to get into the ROTC program? I haven't been able to find very many statistics on ROTC in general, or clarkson's battalion. Good luck, and thank you.
    • Matthew Flynn
      7/26/2012 2:33 PM
      Joining ROTC is as simple as signing up for the class! I would be more than happy to answer any of your questions and get you in touch with our enrollment officer -- i can be contacted through email at . Looking forward to hearing from you!

  • John portorreal
    1/29/2014 11:38 PM
    Umm I do not no how to swim that good got any tips for when I join the army ?
  • Zibah Rollingstones
    3/3/2014 5:28 PM
    Well, you cannot swim well. The army will take care of you, don't worry! No one is going to let you drown. The obvious suggestion is to go to a local pool/swimming area and just practice, even take lessons. Out of the water, your swimming can be improved through cardio, endurance, and leg strength. Running will help you keep up while you learn, and there's no pool required! That is what I did for both triathlon training and basic, and it really helped me!
    Yes, that is my real name (it's short for Hepzibah). No one on the internet believes me, but I feel obligated to point it out.

Your address will never appear on this site