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    The Edge of Greatness


    Photo By Seaman Eric Edinger | 210415-N-MW930-1038 ARABIAN SEA (April 15, 2021) - Yeoman Seaman Aaron Hatchett poses...... read more read more

    AT SEA


    Courtesy Story

    USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69)   

    The crushing weight of exhaustion pushed down on Yeoman Seaman Aaron Hatchett threatening to take him below the surface. His legs felt like rubber from treading for so long and the air in his lungs was fleeting. “I thought I was going to make it,” said Hatchett. “It was quick, they were like Hatchet you’re drifting too far, you drifted too far, nope you’re done. It was very sudden.”
    Hatchet was dropped from the grueling diver selection or CCEOD at Great Lakes, but continues to be committed to achieving his goals and strives to accomplish them each day.
    Hatchett began training for the navy diver program at the youthful age of 29.
    “I wanted to do it before I got too old,” Hatchett said. “It was something that I realized I had to make some serious changes. It wasn’t just going to the gym or some routine on YouTube. It was a lifestyle change. I started running and biking everywhere and I would go to the pool every day.”
    The days leading up to his ship out date were filled with intense workouts both inside and outside the pool.
    “I would wake up at five in the morning and bike to the local YMCA,” said Hatchett. “I would get in the pool and do laps, calisthenics, breath holds, and treading for hours. When my skin started looking like raisins I would get out of the pool. I would then work on my cardio and some strength training.”
    Hatchett only had three months to train before he went to boot camp after which he would be thrown straight into Navy Diver selection. A grueling six-week course where only the most mentally and physically strong would make it through.
    “Every single person that was in my division in boot camp threw up on day two during an evolution,” said Hatchett. “They do a lot of fun stuff to you. Things that I had not been exposed to.”
    In Navy Diver selection Hatchett struggled with several aspects of the training.
    “The bane of my existence, the weighted treads,” said Hatchett. “It really just wears on you after a while especially with everything else that you are doing.”
    His poor eyesight also proved to make the intense training that much harder.
    “Obviously I wouldn’t wear my glasses in the pool. I couldn’t gauge the depth or see where my stuff was partly because I was so exhausted but also because I had my glasses off.”
    Hatchett made it all the way to the final test at the end of the sixth week which involved a weighted tread with in water procedures. He had already failed it twice when he went in for his last try.
    “I passed every step that you needed to do and then you’re treading,” said Hatchett.
    Unfortunately, one of the requirements for passing the test is that while treading one must stay within invisible boundaries in the pool. Hatchett drifted too far and crossed the boundaries causing him to fail the test.
    After his third failure he went in front of a board to determine if he would stay in the program. The board determined that he was not fit to continue in the program and he was dropped on the final day of selection.
    “My chief was shocked that I didn’t get rolled into the next class,” said Hatchett. “I was basically let go the last day before everyone else went down to Florida for the next phase. One of my main regrets is not conditioning my legs. Spend 75% of your time on strengthening your legs.”
    Once dropped from the program he was given the opportunity to choose his rate. Ultimately, he chose Yeoman because it would give him the best opportunity to get another chance at a special program.
    “I needed to choose something that would give me direct access to the correspondence system within the Navy,” said Hatchett. “Obviously things don’t get done without paperwork in the Navy. Even to get into spec war there is a certain amount of paperwork that needs to be routed up the chain of command so you can be selected.”
    Hatchett isn’t stuck in the past and aspires to try for the EOD program.
    “This time around I want to go EOD for the simple fact that I’ve been working with them every opportunity that I get on the ship,” said Hatchett. “I was kind of uneducated in regards to everything that they do. I went with diver initially based on a gut feeling without doing ample research. I feel that after doing my research that actually EOD would be a better fit.”
    Hatchett is committed to achieving his new goal of gaining an EOD contract even with the limitations of being on a ship.
    “Every opportunity that I get, I’m utilizing gym space and workout space to participate in the things that I know I need to get stronger in,” said Hatchett. “I know where my capacity was at and where I am now and I have to continue to push through that threshold.”



    Date Taken: 05.06.2021
    Date Posted: 05.06.2021 14:01
    Story ID: 395830
    Location: AT SEA

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