News: 569th Eng. Dive Det. conducts Deep Blue exercise
Story by Cpl. Christopher Calvert
KUWAIT NAVAL BASE, Kuwait – Divers with the 569th Engineer Dive Detachment from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., conducted their Deep Blue exercise in the Persian Gulf aboard a Landing Craft Utility Boat here March 26–30.
During the exercise, divers spent five days training in surface-supplied deep water dive and self-contained underwater breathing apparatus scenarios with depths reaching more than 60 feet. Both diving modes are employed by the Army at a maximum depth of 190 feet.
The primary use for SSDWD includes underwater cutting and welding, waterfront facilities maintenance, port construction, and rehabilitation. The uses for SCUBA include inspections, search and recovery, river crossing operations, and reconnaissance.
First Sgt. Earnest L. Vance, 569th Eng. Dive Det. and Houston native, said Deep Blue allowed supervisors the opportunity to validate their abilities.
“Today we’re training and refreshing our first class divers,” said Vance. “We’re going to command certify some, as well as re-evaluate others. To accomplish this, we’re performing emergency drills for trapped divers, unconscious divers, divers with neurological problems, and diving related injuries for our supervisors to assess.”
There are five Army diver classifications. The first four are for enlisted soldiers and include second class, salvage, first class, and master diver. The fifth level, diver officer, is reserved for commissioned officers.
Not only did Deep Blue allow supervisors the chance to train, it also allowed junior enlisted divers the chance to gauge their abilities, said Spc. Leslie Schiltz, a second class diver with the 569th Eng. Dive Det. and Vernal, Utah native.
“The training was geared for our supervisors, but it also gave us the chance to accomplish our quarterly qualification dive,” Schiltz explained. “It was good practice and experience.”
Through exercises like Deep Blue, Third Army soldiers are preparing to sustain the fight not only on land, but also underwater.