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Marines Fight to Earn Title as Water Survival Instructors

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The Marine Corps Instructor of Water Survival Course is among the most physically demanding courses in the Corps. The attrition rate can range from 20 to 50 percent, but students who endure earn the title of MCIWS.

Fewer than 600 Marines in the Corps hold the title of Marine Corps Instructor of Water Survival. The three-week MCIWS course creates instructors who can train Marines to react and survive life-threatening situations in the water.

For a photo walkthrough of the course visit:

For a mini-documentary explaining the course’s rigorous training, visit:

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Production: Cpl. Daniel Wetzel
Photography: Staff Sgt. Mark Fayloga, Cpl. Daniel Wetzel
Video: Staff Sgt. Mark Fayloga, Pfc. John Tucker

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21 Comments

  • Reply
    Saint Mad Dog
    May 22, 2017 at 1:42 am

    Not looking forward to this

  • Reply
    Bruce Clark
    May 22, 2017 at 1:42 am

    Brings back lots of memories. I was a WSSI in the '80's. Semper Fi!

  • Reply
    Wayne The Mercedes
    May 22, 2017 at 1:42 am

    F-alse
    E-vidence
    A-ppearing
    R-eal
    humans were made with webbing between the fingers and toes for a reason, ease your mind of all fear. we are all natural born swimmers. dont be the one to let fear sink you to the bottom

  • Reply
    Dave Henry
    May 22, 2017 at 1:42 am

    Great Course and Instructors…went through in '90. I love the water but there were times when I was hating life!

  • Reply
    Uh Ozzvy
    May 22, 2017 at 1:42 am

    I have a question,
    Let's say someone is struggling with swimming, sinking, and self defense and that person also doesn't feel comfortable getting in the water? Will they still earn the title? Could they still remain a marine?

  • Reply
    camas77721
    May 22, 2017 at 1:42 am

    Does every Marine get to go through this course?

  • Reply
    gregory makuch
    May 22, 2017 at 1:42 am

    Went through MCIWS in June '93 at Camp Johnson…awesome course!

  • Reply
    jhb3043
    May 22, 2017 at 1:42 am

    Would've loved to have been given a chance to go through the MCIWS course. Earned WSQ way back in DEC '00. Semper Fi

  • Reply
    Jamie Holland
    May 22, 2017 at 1:42 am

    This is a cool video and it's awesome to see our marines training so hard.

  • Reply
    Bornwater
    May 22, 2017 at 1:42 am

    Great editing job

  • Reply
    RappinisPassion
    May 22, 2017 at 1:42 am

    What if it's a shoulder tattoo where it wouldn't exactly show when wearing a shirt?

  • Reply
    Tim Estes
    May 22, 2017 at 1:42 am

    I graduated from WSSI in Feb 1976 Camp Pendelton CA. Class had a 50% drop out rate.

  • Reply
    Marines
    May 22, 2017 at 1:42 am

    The tattoos these Marines have are grandfathered in, meaning they had them before the policy change.
    Semper Fidelis.

  • Reply
    infuntry
    May 22, 2017 at 1:42 am

    I dont get it? Can you or can you not have tatts in marine corp? I looked it up and these people in vid violated some rules so what is the rule they go by?

  • Reply
    6271tony
    May 22, 2017 at 1:42 am

    " It's a kick in the face everyday, but it's still a good time." Semper Fi

  • Reply
    Alex Johnson
    May 22, 2017 at 1:42 am

    That's so frigging awesome! 😀

  • Reply
    kooljosephmadera
    May 22, 2017 at 1:42 am

    Awesome.

  • Reply
    Dylan Mcall.P
    May 22, 2017 at 1:42 am

    That's nothing compared to Seals but great job. This will help them a lot in the battlefield.

  • Reply
    Phillyzbadboy420
    May 22, 2017 at 1:42 am

    Great job, Marines. This is moto.

  • Reply
    John Fischer
    May 22, 2017 at 1:42 am

    I remember my time as a MCIWS. What an awesome time in training and teaching as well.

  • Leave a Reply