Special-operations items from every US navy service department prepare to conduct fight diving as part of their missions.
Navy SEALs take that functionality additional, nonetheless, training not solely to journey by way of the water however to conduct underwater missions as effectively.
With the navy refocusing for a possible battle within the huge Pacific area, that diving functionality is taking up new significance.
Water covers greater than 70% of the earth, making maritime operations essential functionality for any competent navy.
Besides having the strongest Navy on the planet, the US navy possesses potent maritime special-operations assets, with the vast majority of its special-operations items having some fight diving functionality.
Marine Raiders and Reconnaissance Marines have completely different coaching pipelines however undergo the identical dive faculty in Panama City.
Army Green Berets have devoted fight diver groups, and a few Rangers undergo the arduous Special Forces Underwater Operations School in Key West, Florida, one of the crucial difficult programs within the Army, the place even particular operators wash out.
Air Force Combat Controllers, Pararescuemen, and Special Reconnaissance operators additionally undergo dive faculty in Panama City earlier than ending their very own coaching programs. Those items typically ship college students to the Army’s course.
With some exceptions, similar to Special Forces dive teams who educate fight diving to international troops, for these items fight diving is primarily an insertion technique – a approach to the job quite than the job itself.
However, Navy SEAL Teams take maritime special-operations to a different degree.
Navy SEALs hint their lineage to the Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT) of World War II.
These frogmen had been tasked with amphibious reconnaissance and clearing seashores earlier than the Marine Corps or the Army landed. They noticed motion in Normandy throughout D-Day and in nearly each main operation within the Pacific.
Since then, the fight diver functionality (or fight swimmer, as SEALs name it) is a part of each SEAL’s DNA. SEAL college students obtain fight diving coaching throughout the preliminary and the superior parts of the SEAL pipeline.
Aspiring SEALs study the fundamentals of fight diving throughout the Second (or Dive) Phase of the six-month Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) coaching course. This portion of the coaching accommodates Pool Competence, the pipeline’s second most tough occasion after First Phase’s Hell Week.
During Pool Comp, college students undergo more and more demanding underwater exams in a monitored setting. The purpose is to see if they’ll observe primary procedures that would save their lives in a real-world operation whereas beneath excessive bodily and psychological stress.
During the SEAL Qualification Training (SQT) course, which comes after BUD/S, aspiring SEALs obtain further and extra superior fight diving coaching.
The purpose for the extra coaching is that SEALs are the one special-operations unit tasked with underwater particular operations, similar to putting limpet mines on enemy ships or conducting reconnaissance of an enemy harbor.
One of their better-known underwater missions came about in 1989 throughout Operation Just Cause. A four-man SEAL factor was tasked with sinking Manuel Noriega’s private boat to forestall the Panamanian dictator’s escape. Despite some resistance from a number of vigilant guards, the SEALs had been capable of plant limpet mines and destroy the vessel.
Although the SEAL Teams’ missions may be completely different than these of different US special-operations fight diver items, the fundamental coaching is not.
“Actually, the military’s combat diver communities are all very similar in the curriculums being taught,” a extremely seasoned Special Forces fight diver informed Insider. “We all fall under SOCOM [US Special Operations Command], and the Navy is the proponent for all diving operations. They approve and monitor tasks being taught at each school.”
“We all use [combat diving] for the same reason – clandestine infiltration using an oxygen rebreather,” the operator mentioned, referring to the MK25 MOD2, made by Dräger.
“[We all] get to work using our fins,” added the operator, who has taught on the Army’s fight diver faculty and at BUD/S.
A possible battle within the Pacific is a purpose for all companies to keep up and even enhance their fight diver capabilities. However, there’s nonetheless quite a bit to be carried out on that entrance, particularly for Army special-operations items, the place the aptitude has been neglected to a harmful extent.
Diving into the long run
With the Pentagon targeted on great-power competitors, maritime special-operations are more and more related and essential, and that is the place the SEAL Teams can shine.
“The Teams can do so much in conflict with China,” a former SEAL officer informed Insider. “We have the ability to conduct small unit surveillance and reconnaissance during over-the-beach ops; place sensors to aid intelligence gathering, again during over-the-beach ops; train foreign forces (for example, training the Taiwanese in all manner of stuff to balance Chinese capabilities); and also do direct action (an extreme example, but doable if so required).”
Unlike different special-operations items, within the SEAL Teams everyone seems to be fight diver certified. As a end result, there’s a vested curiosity within the functionality, each from an operational and budgetary standpoint.
“Compared to other special-operations commands, NSW [Naval Special Warfare] as a whole will be more relevant in a great-power competition setting, at least in the Pacific, because of the maritime nature of the environment,” a SEAL officer informed insider. “We might see platoons diving but not to place a limpet mine on a Chinese warship but a sensor on a ship of interest.”
Aside from conventional fight diving operations, the SEAL Teams additionally possess the SEAL Delivery Vehicle (SDV) functionality.
There are two SDV Teams which are manned by SEALs who bear much more fight diving coaching and function the mini-submarines. Although a lot of their mission-set is assessed, they’re identified to conduct particular reconnaissance and stealthily transport SEALs nearer to a goal.
Stavros Atlamazoglou is a protection journalist specializing in particular operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (National Service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate.
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