army dive school prep
Maj. Roberto Oquendo, company sergeant major and the senior enlisted advisor to the commander. The senior combat divers who teach at the school emphasize that the graduates are now, truly, the best of the best. Special Forces Combat Diving Medical Technician Course (CDMTC) ATRRS School Code: 331 . "When you exhale underwater, the air, the bubbles come up to the surface. The Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC) or, informally, the Q Course is the initial formal training program for entry into the United States Army Special Forces.Phase I of the Q Course is Special Forces Assessment and Selection (SFAS). I overheard the cadre mentioning that Chuck was a recycle. The Prep course is formally listed as 8 weeks long but is actually 9 weeks with the inclusion of an inprocessing “Zero Week” . In order to fully understand the dangers involved with diving, the types of injuries that could occur and how to prevent them, students must understand basic anatomy and physiology.The academic portion of the course, essentially, "explains what can kill these guys," Smith said solemnly. It's their sense of duty, loyalty and honor.Having spent 10 years as an engineer in the regular Army, Tabberer decided to go Special Forces, but he said he had never considered being a diver. is a Green Beret who served in Afghanistan and a number of other live fire locations. "A lot of times, we have to really break it down in laymen's terms. Cool under pressure, they move with no doubt that they can fix any medical problem from arterial bleeding to syphilis. "Especially if you're already a diver and looking to do instructor time, this is the place to do it. Those bubbles are easily detected," Minnick explained.Granted, a portion of the course is dedicated to familiarizing students with open-circuit equipment. This course helps prepare students for the rigors of training and the demands of these lifestyles. "I want to choose my words very carefully here, because this isn't for everybody, just like Airborne School is not for everybody. This course focuses heavily on physical fitness, but candidates are also expected to demonstrate a proficiency in land navigation, one of the most important skills of a Special Forces Soldier. (3) Bicycles. We almost cheered every time somebody lost a mask because they had to swim down and get it, and we all got an extra breath. There was a designated safety officer who counted heads and made sure everyone resurfaced. It’s how we can continue producing high quality coverage of warfare and global issues for you to enjoy. And if the cadre thought you were sliding down, they would direct you over to the wall. upon completion do i have to be assigned to a diving team to permanently be a combat diver or would i be able to just have this skill on kind of a stand by incase i ever need it? With boring efficiency, they raised Chuck from the dead and got him breathing again. I did this correctly only once, on test day. If you’d like an ad-free experience, consider becoming a SOFREP member and enjoy a whole host of other benefits besides the ad-free part. This means that they only select the best of the best cadets. While we got plenty of experience donning and wearing these primitive behemoths, we did not turn on the air and use regulators until week two. The cadre were very familiar with shallow-water blackout and watched for it constantly. He said he wanted to be part of that elite force.WHAT KIND OF SOLDIER DOES IT TAKE'Most of the instructors at CDQC have multiple deployments as well, and some of them have given more than just time to the Global War on Terrorism. Train select US Army Special Forces, other US SOF, DOD, foreign military, and US Government personnel as combat diving medical technicians. Instructors said their location offers challenging navigational tests, as there are many shallow passages around the Florida Keys.Finally, Week Six puts everything the students have learned into practical application by conducting a 48-hour field training exercise. Chuck didn’t remember much about crossovers from that day, so I got another version from one of the cadre I knew: On that day, as the class was crossing the pool, they somehow provoked the ire of the whistle guy by probably displaying too much affinity for normal breathing. Students will not be allowed to leave the compound before 1200 on the graduation date. For example, combat divers often use diver propulsion devices, DPDs, small, open submarines capable of carrying two divers. To be elite, one must endure the hardships that tough training requires. The Sapper Leader Course is a demanding 28 day leadership development course for combat engineers that reinforces critical skills and teaches advanced techniques needed across the Army. If you have any trace of claustrophobia or fear of drowning, the clever instructors will find it. One must train beyond the limits of what is considered the norm. "I know some awesome operators I would go to combat with any day, and they're not combat divers. CDQC is open to Special Forces and Ranger noncommissioned officers. That's what influenced me to go SF. Key West Florida is known worldwide as one of the tourist destinations, but it’s also home to the Special Forces Underwater Operations School. They would push us into the deep end so everyone was crowded and with Twin 80s, BCD vests, mask and fins, and weight belts, we clung to the edge of the pool. Airborne Instructors in 1977. Furthermore, not just anyone can be selected to teach at the course. Swimmers must be careful to not deplete themselves completely, as the toughest portion of the test still remains.As soon as candidates have completed the flips, they must grab a face mask located on the floor of the pool -- with their teeth. Those who dare navigate under the waves, not just on top of them, to do what the Army needs them to do are among the Special Forces' elite: combat divers.The grueling seven-week Combat Diver Qualification Course, or CDQC, at the Special Forces Underwater Operations School in Key West, Fla., is neither for the weak of heart, or the idle of mind. "The school is intentionally regimented. Depending on where you do it, pre-dive can be worse than dive school. As such, the aim of the ADS Course is to qualify AD1 divers as military diving supervisors by means of assessing them in the following three supervisory roles: after becoming a ranger i wanted to complete SF combat diver school for the reason that i just want to have that particular skill under my belt. PURPOSE. One side went low and the other went high. My least favorite exercise was bobbing, where you jumped up from the bottom of the deep end with your fins on your hands, got your head above the surface, took a breath, and went back down. "These poor guys train all day and then go sit in the classroom at night. "So at that point, they need more team training. 1st Class Thomas N. Talmadge, is an example of the kind of determination it takes to be a combat diver, and a CDQC instructor.Talmadge was injured during his last deployment to Afghanistan, where he and his team came under heavy fire in the middle of the night. Good news is that very few people fail out of dive school after making it there. Literally, the grenade hit his leg, and the unexploded round had to be yanked out of his tissue by a teammate during the firefight.Talmadge said the chaos of the firefight made finding cover a difficult task, but once he was in a better position, the medic applied several tourniquets and called for a medevac. After a few beers, people sometimes ask about the toughest training I have ever seen. There are plenty of other classes in which students die. Usually the water does the choosing for us. Chuck remembers the story again from this point onward. I’ve been assigned to an EOD candidate dive prep class, and we start in about three weeks. While they may not be called on for dive missions in the Middle East, these combat divers are fighting professionals.In fact, most candidates who enter CDQC usually have four to seven deployments under their belts. Every man in my class who failed to graduate quit in pool week. In a completely unemotional rendition, Chuck told me that in the previous class, they were in the officer’s pool at Fleming Key (this was before the school had its own pool). And the Combat Diver Qualification Course is the hardest thing I have ever done, even though I did not nearly die like Chuck. All Rights Reserved. "As Talmadge began regaining strength and mobility, he did laps around the nurses' station. The experience of teaching at one of the most difficult courses throughout the military, helping train and create new combat divers is an opportunity that even less than one percent of the Special Forces combat divers will ever have. It is as intense mentally as it is physically, with an attrition rate that truly begins before each class cycle does.In order to be accepted to the course, candidates are required to pass as intense physical fitness and swim test at their home units, which must be documented by their command. I'm 30, 166 lbs, and have never failed a PRT, averaging 1230, 1200 on the run, 80 push ups, 75 sit up last cycle. You start out at the top of the food chain, but after the injury, I was at the bottom of the chain. This extended amount of time allows combat divers to infiltrate strategic locations far from off-shore.There's also a noticeable difference in buoyancy. Once the face mask has been secured, swimmers must perform five more bobs while holding the mask in their teeth. He could drive you as far into oxygen debt as he wanted. The School is designed to prepare military divers and skilled submarine professionals. Samuel Winter, an instructor for the Army Diver Phase 1 Course. Graduates go back to their groups with skill sets and knowledge that run deeper than those who graduated years ago," Minnick said.ELITE STANDARDSElite status can't be purchased or secured through a handout. We're looking for people who can overcome those pitfalls and remain confident. However, the ultimate objective during that part of the training is to prepare them for closed-circuit diving.The closed-circuit diving equipment "consists of a compact, lightweight rebreather that scrubs exhaled gases from a diver's exhalations and recycles the unused oxygen back to the diver with additional pure oxygen as needed. These programs help Soldiers to develop skills for an Army career and beyond. "By Weeks Four, Five and Six, these guys are pretty much divers," explained Sgt. He was quiet and in great shape. Ongoing training opportunities include tactical, technical, physical, and leadership development. One of my buddies suggested I come here to CDQC as an instructor, which would allow me to continue my rehab, especially swimming," he explained.Still walking with a cane when he first arrived to CDQC, Talmadge began swimming, and with help from the other cadre, he began running again. Sometimes, repair, construction and patrolling take place beneath the surface. Watch: Marine Saves Child from Burning Car. We need that, which is why we have these specialty teams, like dive teams and HALO teams. She then attended Navy Dive School and spent two years as a Coast Guard Diver at Maritime Safety and Security Team 91109. This infiltration method grew to become another platform for Special Forces to get to work.Known for using cutting-edge technology, the school served as field tester in the 1970s for a rebreather unit that used mixed gas in a closed-circuit system. "We go over it with a fine-tooth comb," Smith said. It has about a 40% passing rate. The training is physically and mentally exhausting, so preparation above and beyond the basic requirements of the school is mandatory. Make sure the taxi is able to get onto base. Master Sgt. This week brings together all the previous training throughout the course. That team training is more than just two-man buddy teams. Everybody wanted to get as far from the wall as possible to save on breath. If one of these guys falls below 75 percent in their academics, they are placed on restriction. Instructors say that the desire to be part of that one percent serves as motivation in and of itself.While all the instructors happily convey they've enjoyed their time at this assignment and teaching at the school, they don't deny that they'd rather be out with their groups conducting missions. Repeat until told to stop. Swimmers cannot touch the bottom of the pool or break the surface of the water.Perhaps the most challenging test is drown-proofing, which instructors say is a test of confidence and control. "A common personality characteristic found among Special Forces is the desire to be the best at everything, Oquendo elaborated further. In 1943, an Army officer, along with other representatives from the Army, the Army Air Corps, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard, helped develop a recirculating oxygen rebreather, the Lambertson Amphibious Respiratory Unit, or LARU, which gave divers the ability to travel underwater farther and for longer periods of time.Developments such as the LARU set the stage for underwater and airborne tactical maneuvering. Chuck sank peacefully to the bottom of the pool, his airway completely obstructed by a swimming pool full of water. The water was hazy, and they could not see the bottom of the pool. Half the class would line up on each side of the long axis of the Olympic-sized pool. The biggest stressor with dive school is that you can be dropped at any point for failing anything. Army Special Forces Underwater Operations School makes its mark on Key West. Graduates are awarded the Combat Diver Qualification Badge. Leave a comment. If he wants you to roll, you're rolling. There was another drill called crossovers. We would appreciate it tremendously if you could whitelist us in your adblocker. But after working with combat divers in his group, he changed his mind. So, we spend a lot of time talking with each other about the best teaching methods. There is no warning sensation, and victims typically drown quietly. After spending a few days on a medical plane, by way through Germany, Talmadge ended up at Womack Army Hospital, Fort Bragg, N.C."That medic did everything. "I had heard about people coming here and being put underwater to the point of passing out to simulate drowning, and frankly, I didn't want any part of it," he chided. But when they would put you in, you couldn’t move that way because you didn’t want to screw your buddies, so there was a natural rotation. For a lot of guys, that's what they want to be.He said occasionally some will jump into it without knowing what they're getting into exactly, but the majority of students know precisely what to expect. If you are trying to prepare for the Special Forces Combat Diver Qualification Course then you must do PT with your local Dive Team. And the Combat Diver Qualification Course is the hardest thing I have ever done, even though I did not nearly die like Chuck. He had recycled because of crossovers. Instructors say Week One weeds out those who aren't meant to be combat divers.Weeks Two and Three are devoted to closed-circuit training, navigational diving, buddy breathing and tactical swims in full gear and equipment.Week Four includes boat and watercraft training. Matthew D. Smith, chief instructor in charge of the curriculum, said that a lot of what takes place at the school involves academics.Having a medical background might help a student in this course, but most who attend do not have that luxury. These classes are meant to provide students with the qualities of teamwork, […] Posts navigation. The low guys tried to stay as high as they could so they used less energy. As an Army diver you will specialize in one of two different types of diving. Students should plan accordingly when scheduling departure flights. They must have the desire to be part of the elite one percent of Special Forces combat divers. The second count was one guy short, but the class was back underwater before he could stop them. Until then, it’s up to me to study as much of the material as I can get my hands on, and get back in shape after two months of boot camp. (formerly known as SOPC I – Special Operations Prep Course. If you have a better story, I want to read it. The biggest thing I found about finning was to use big kicks and to do a really good back kick using my hamstrings. Hopefully, one day, you can enjoy some of this, because it's a really good gig. I saw a couple videos of the navy guys who were in my class. The cadre with the whistle controlled the pace. Now, I trust the Army and the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center, but I am only going to let them drown me once. When you get "hit" it looks like it sucks lol, those instructors have fun with you guys. Staff Sergeant Chuck Gates was an active-duty Green Beret from 19th SFG in Utah. There is no advanced combat diver school. This gives the students the opportunity to work as a detachment," as they would with their groups.With Week Five comes insertion training. Upon successful completion of the FTX, the students take part in a 9-mile run the following morning, and the final three days of the course are dedicated to cleaning and maintenance.As one can imagine, the elation of completing such a grueling school renders the new combat divers overjoyed. The Army provides specialized skills training for Soldiers who want to advance their Army careers. All of these activities are in succession, and hands and feet remain bound.Once the swim is complete, students must perform a front flip and back flip underwater in the deep end of the pool, without touching the bottom or sides for assistance. Talmadge's left leg was severely injured by a direct hit from a rocket-propelled grenade. They must maintain a 75 percent or better, just to be able to go downtown and get a cheeseburger. But this is the only instance I know of, where the cadre nearly killed a student through inaction, brought that student back to life to cover their mistakes, and then ask him if he wanted to quit. Not to mention ... family comes to see you in the hospital, and you can't do anything for yourself. You hear it in Special Forces and around Rangers. Since the pressure of the compressed gas is reduced to fit in the tank of an open-circuit system, the air the diver breathes it in at a higher volume than it was inside the tank; hence, the diver becomes a little more buoyant with each inhalation. The Prep training staff includes olympic-trial athletes, prior operators, a sports psychologist, nutritionist, stre… Share on Twitter ""You know, you were at the top of your game, top of the hill, and now, you can't do anything. Army engineer divers are members of national armies who are trained to undertake reconnaissance, demolition, and salvage tasks underwater. Students learn surface and sub-surface waterborne infiltration methods.The SF Underwater Operations School administers two other courses between its combat diver sessions: the Combat Diving Supervisor Course and the Diving Medical Technician Course.IN THE BEGINNING ...In true Special Forces tradition, the school was birthed in an autonomous fashion, and today is a self-sufficient organization with an administrative and training facility, barracks, dining facility, classrooms, parachute-drying tower, hyperbaric chamber, boat maintenance shop, docks, the largest pool in Key West, and a dive tower equipped with a nuclear submarine lockout trunk.Three Soldiers were sent to Florida from the JFK Special Warfare Center Scuba Detachment, Fort Bragg, N.C., in the summer of 1964 with the objective to locate a site for a new underwater operations school. They will push that button again and again until you forever ignore it or quit. The AIRR guys went down to Florida for their schools, and the ND and EOD guys stayed in Great Lakes for dive prep. Both dive courses are extremely advanced and competitive for operational forces, so cadets who gain these rare opportunities prepare diligently over a long period. There are no bubbles, so the system is undetectable from the surface," Minnick said.Aside from concealing divers, there are other advantages in using a closed-circuit rebreather. "That kind of complacency will get a guy killed. First, swimmers must bob up and down in 10 feet of water for five minutes. We put it into the simplest terms to get the highest level of understanding," Smith said. The Coast Guard Lieutenant handed me a pair of khaki shorts. There is a dive supervisor course, which focuses on running a dive and making sure the divers stay safe. Scuba Diver- This type of Army diving involves working just below the surface of the water, for short periods of time. Dive prep is mainly just going over what are called In Water Procedures (IWPs). Even too many quizzes. Most of the students decide it's just not for them," On the cadre’s whistle, you let go, pushed off and swam underwater to the other side. Whereas in Ranger School, there were hours and miles between meals where you thought about how powerfully hunger sucked. Dive prep is designed to weed out people and it's tough for a reason. My question is really geared towards divers. "Being regular Army, a commander makes your decisions. Not that MCD is a piece of cake mind you. His recovery progress was slowed when one of the numerous skin grafts developed into a painful infection. "What truly sets apart the Special Forces combat diver from the already elite Special Forces Soldier is determination and drive to be better than everyone else," explained Sgt. Of course," Oquendo pointed out, "not everyone enjoys jumping out of a plane at 13,000 feet in the air at night with equipment, and that's okay. "Talmadge advises anyone who might be interested in attending or becoming an instructor at CDQC to get the ball rolling. Prep is designed to build upon the candidates motivation and physical conditioning to prepare them for the rigors of A&S. The total program is broken up into two phases of training, open circuit and closed circuit. Tabberer said. There is a dive supervisor course, which focuses on running a dive and making sure the divers stay safe. It drains the will to survive. It's no longer a gateway. I saw the caliber of Soldiers and the caliber of divers, and that's what I wanted to be," he said.Prior to then, Tabberer had never considered going to dive school. These specialties are one notch above the standard (Special Forces duties). Working under the water can be even more unforgiving. Course Code: 011-ASIQ5 . By Sgt. He's a poet-warrior in the classic sense, a casual hero and a student of science. Support authentic military journalism and a 100% veteran editorial staff. Course Duration: 3 Weeks, 15 training days . He knew staying hydrated was extremely important, adding that he was on a liquid diet for a very long time.Once released from the hospital, Talmadge wasn't sure about taking another regular assignment that might put him in the field. Over 700 hours of military entertainment and video content, 12 free e-books, breaking news from the front lines and exclusive interviews with the people in charge. He saved my life," he said, adding that he's had approximately 40 surgeries to repair damage and reconstruct his leg. The perils of this drill included running head-on into an opposite swimmer, causing both of you to lose all momentum, or having the guy next to you take your mask off with his push-off arm stroke. Black Hats. If you have never worked with an SF medic, they are a wonder to watch. Read Next: Neglected & Misunderstood: Senior Green Beret speaks out about the SF Combat Diver capability. The first week, they issued full open circuit gear, complete with twin 80-cubic-foot tanks. Q4 SOFREP Sweepstakes - Over $4,000 in prizes - Click here for more information →, Sweepstakes: Enter to win $4,000 in prizes →, Neglected & Misunderstood: Senior Green Beret speaks out about the SF Combat Diver capability. "We can't just send them out of here with a 70 percent and think, 'Oh, they're probably good enough.' I havent spoken to anyone about it yet as I dont know if I'm physically ready for it yet. I felt like a little bottom-sucker. "Cadre members agree that potential candidates for the course must be mature, disciplined, intelligent. It's the heart. "Sitting in on a class is like Valium for the ears," he joked. Sgt. Hyperventilation prior to diving depletes carbon dioxide in the system, leaving a diver susceptible to shallow-water blackout. The drills have since changed, but the objective remains the same. Prep for Basic Training > MOS Information > Diver (21D) Diver (21D) Intelligence and Combat Support Army MOS Information. Now, here is my simple question to you: Would you rather go without a meal for a day or without a breath for two minutes? Soldiers meeting the right criteria may attend specialized schools and leadership training. Maybe it was hypoxia, but for volunteering to go back in that pool so recently after his incapacitation, with water still in his lungs waiting to kill him, I say without hesitation that Chuck Gates is the bravest man I ever met. I have been through a lot of training over the years. This discrepancy in buoyancy won't happen with a closed-circuit system because the gas re-circulates at a constant volume between the diver's lungs and the breathing bag.ELITE COURSEThe curriculum for the CDQC has changed throughout the years. When they bob up to the surface and take in a breath of air, it must be a controlled breath. Say what you want about any other class anywhere in the world. They're operating as an entire element, a 10- to 12-man element, depending on class size. Enlisted; Active Duty; Army Reserve; Not all Army operations take place on land. There is no try. Key West teaches you to turn them off. We do a lot of testing, a lot of study hall to make sure these guys understand. "The school has really come a long way. Chuck replied, “No,” but because he had pool water in his lungs, he didn’t catch the second part of that question. He said that a lot of people on the street believe that being a combat diver means you're one of the best of the best. This two-week course, held at Fort Bragg, N.C., prepares prospective Green Berets for Special Forces Assessment and Selection (SFAS). Students, the best at everything, Oquendo elaborated further obstructed by a pool... 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