Marines and Sailors prepare for the worst

Posted at 7:04 PM, Mar 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-02 22:04:15-05

On Wednesday, we got a close up look at the Naval Aviation Underwater Survival Training at MCAS Miramar.

It looked like an under water rodeo. Marines and Sailors were roped in and thrashed around.

Lieutenant Commander Derek Ashlock is skilled in the sky, but this training was about the water.

"I knew I wanted to be a Naval aviator from the time I was 7 years old," Ashlock explained.

He said he is the oldest fighter pilot in any Navy squadron.

They practiced parachuting into a pool and getting hoisted to a helicopter. They were blinded with black goggles and bogged down by wet gear weighing up to 50 pounds.

It looked brutal.

One Sailor after another kept saying, "It's fun!"

Then, Ashlock say this, "[That's] what I said 26 years ago."

It was not Ashlock's first time around, and around, and around in the helo dunker, which is a mock aircraft submerged in a pool and spun around.

It seemed similar to spinning around on a bat, but they were trapped without being able to see or breathe as they worked their way out.

"Water always goes into the deepest part of your sinuses," he explained.

He plays a professional bad guy in the sky to train other jet pilots. He does not even fly helos.

"For a jet fighter guy, if you go down to helo, that's the culmination of a really bad day because you've ejected, you got successfully picked up and now the airplane that picked you up has crashed," he said.

It was a worst case scenario.

"They train you for the worst case scenario and then you hope for the best," Lt. Joseph Calvi said.

Calvi is gearing up for his first deployment, which could involve fighting ISIS.

After gasping for air, they had to manually blow up a busted life vest.

"That's not fun," one sailor said, changing his mind.

They do not do it for fun. They do it for their country.

Ashlock has been to too many funerals to count and knows those 20 second rides could prevent more

"It's a necessary evil," he said with a smile.