News: Seabee divers from Underwater Construction Team 2 spend February in Diego Garcia
By Construction Electrician Chief (SCW/MDV) Terence Juergens
DIEGO GARCIA, British Indian Ocean Territory - Seabee Divers from Underwater Construction Team (UCT) 2’s Construction Diving Detachment Charlie (CDD/C) spent February deployed to Naval Support Facility (NSF) Diego Garcia to inspect, maintain and repair fleet moorings and off-shore hydro-acoustic cables in the Indian Ocean. These waterfront facilities provide vital support to U.S. and allied operations in the region.
Shortly after arriving on two C-130s with more than 40,000 pounds of diving and support equipment 12 members of CDD/C began conducting diving operations, inspecting two fleet mooring buoys in support of 6th Fleet operations in the Indian Ocean.
During inspections, divers utilized specialized tools to measure chain links identifying and documenting excessive wear.
Seabee divers also replaced more than 150 sacrificial zinc anodes that provide cathodic (corrosion) protection to, extending the life span and serviceability of fleet moorings.
In support of future fleet mooring installations members of CDD/C conducted work unique to Seabee divers, collecting hydrographic and geotechnical survey data. They used underwater hydraulics to operate a rapid penetration test (RPT) unit to drive steel rods at measured intervals in over 80 feet of seawater (FSW). The amount of time it takes to penetrate 2-foot increments is recorded, along with torque measurements at the end of each rod. Engineers from the Naval Facilities Engineering Command will use this data to design mooring solutions based on bottom type and density.
The final task divers from UCT 2 had to complete was the inspection and repair of two Hydro-acoustic Data Acquisition System (HDAS) cables located outside of a lagoon on North of the island. The cables start from the shore and extend to 110 feet of seawater until they plunge to the ocean floor 600 feet below the crystal clear water of the Indian Ocean.
“This by far is what I’ve been waiting for,” said Equipment Operator 1st Class (SCW/DV) Manuel Terrero, assistant officer in charge of CDD/C. “The dives we get to conduct outside the lagoon are the best in the world, and we’re the only ones that get to dive out there. Every dive is like watching the National Geographic Channel, or peering in to a pristine aquarium.”
Battling high surf and heavy winds divers inspected more than 3,000 feet of cable in depths up to 110 feet. Divers replaced more than 70 zinc anodes and installed 10 new stabilization points using underwater hydraulic tools.
“As a Seabee diver, we dive all around the world, from the frigid waters of the Arctic to the tropics of the Indian Ocean. This by far is the best part of our job!” Said Steelworker 1st Class (SCW/DV) Cody Oswald, the project supervisor.
Seabee divers begin their careers as non-diving Seabees, learning their construction skills. This allows them to bring a unique problem solving capability to diving and underwater construction, often functioning in depths up to 190 feet of seawater.
This is the first of seven locations during Construction Diving Detachment Charlie’s six-month deployment. CDD/C travels by military airlift, moving 40,000 pounds of gear more than 40,000 miles across six countries to accomplish seven missions, including four Pacific Fleet exercises. They do this without having to return to their home base for re-supply.
From the logistics of moving 20 tons of equipment by naval airlift, to life support sustainment, they’re a completely autonomous unit, led by a senior enlisted officer in charge.
Following their work at Diego Garcia, CDD/C divers will travel to Guam to support fleet mooring inspections and repair in Apra Harbor.