The cadre with the whistle controlled the pace. Whereas in Ranger School, there were hours and miles between meals where you thought about how powerfully hunger sucked. The Army provides specialized skills training for Soldiers who want to advance their Army careers. Leave a comment. 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. You start out at the top of the food chain, but after the injury, I was at the bottom of the chain. 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. If he wants you to roll, you're rolling. While the training mission is essential, they often look toward the future back under the water. But on an ODA (Operational Detachment Alpha team), you talk about it, use all your heads and brains and decide your own destiny as a team. Share This: About Mark Miller View All Posts . The secret was to remain calm and breathe deeply with the time you had. The biggest stressor with dive school is that you can be dropped at any point for failing anything. To be elite, one must endure the hardships that tough training requires. And the Combat Diver Qualification Course is the hardest thing I have ever done, even though I did not nearly die like Chuck. 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: Army engineer divers are members of national armies who are trained to undertake reconnaissance, demolition, and salvage tasks underwater. I have been through a lot of training over the years. "Overall course standards require an 85 percent or higher before students can qualify as divers. Now, I trust the Army and the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center, but I am only going to let them drown me once. Good news is that very few people fail out of dive school after making it there. It has about a 40% passing rate. So I've decided I want to go to dive school and earn the DV warfare pin. Not that MCD is a piece of cake mind you. They finally stopped the drill and pulled the lifeless body of Chuck Gates from the bottom. Dylan Dubas, a recent course graduate. 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. "The school is intentionally regimented. So, everybody's trying to help you, take care of you. Ongoing training opportunities include tactical, technical, physical, and leadership development. They learned about the history of combat diving and what the school has to offer. Staff Sergeant Chuck Gates was an active-duty Green Beret from 19th SFG in Utah. Repeat until told to stop. The diver insignia (also known as "diver badges") are qualification badges of the uniformed services of the United States which are awarded to servicemen qualified as divers. 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. He's a poet-warrior in the classic sense, a casual hero and a student of science. This means that they only select the best of the best cadets. 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. I havent spoken to anyone about it yet as I dont know if I'm physically ready for it yet. They must have the desire to be part of the elite one percent of Special Forces combat divers. With boring efficiency, they raised Chuck from the dead and got him breathing again. 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. 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. CDQC is open to Special Forces and Ranger noncommissioned officers. This phase is 4 weeks long. KMA students take four years of classes sponsored by the United States Army known as Leadership Education and Training classes. Samuel Winter, an instructor for the Army Diver Phase 1 Course. By Ms. Linda Crippen (TRADOC)March 8, 2011, Going Deep at the Combat Diver Qualification Course, KEY WEST, Fla. -- Living and working on the sea can be difficult and dangerous. These classes are meant to provide students with the qualities of teamwork, […] Posts navigation. The total program is broken up into two phases of training, open circuit and closed circuit. "We go over it with a fine-tooth comb," Smith said. Problem was, he didn’t control the whistle. "These poor guys train all day and then go sit in the classroom at night. Students should plan accordingly when scheduling departure flights. It's no longer a gateway. 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 they break the straps or touch the sides of the pool, they fail.Swimmers must maintain a rhythm while doing this portion of the test. Key West Florida is known worldwide as one of the tourist destinations, but it’s also home to the Special Forces Underwater Operations School. This week brings together all the previous training throughout the course. 1 2 » Military Academies in all States - Military Prep Schools. Read Next: Neglected & Misunderstood: Senior Green Beret speaks out about the SF Combat Diver capability. She then attended Navy Dive School and spent two years as a Coast Guard Diver at Maritime Safety and Security Team 91109. For those who do make it into the course, one out of every three will never finish.Regarded by many Soldiers as the toughest military school to endure, CDQC is run by C Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Special Warfare Training Group, U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School. This course is also designed to build esprit de corps by training Soldiers in troop leading procedures, demolitions (conventional and expedient), and mountaineering operations. Hyperventilation prior to diving depletes carbon dioxide in the system, leaving a diver susceptible to shallow-water blackout. Of course, there are several types of equipment available now, but the school utilizes the Draeger LAR-V, which is a design based on the original LARU apparatus from the 1940s.Master Sgt. Depending on where you do it, pre-dive can be worse than dive school. He had recycled because of crossovers. We try to identify those people who need to be here and those who don't. The second count was one guy short, but the class was back underwater before he could stop them. Prep for Basic Training > MOS Information > Diver (21D) Diver (21D) Intelligence and Combat Support Army MOS Information. b. The divers will be trained for both the Navy and the Army: their specialties will vary from SpecOps officers to sappers, reconnaissance and sabotage groups, and even paratroopers as well as search and rescue professionals and law enforcement officers. 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. 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. 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. 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. When they bob up to the surface and take in a breath of air, it must be a controlled breath. 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. Chuck replied, “No,” but because he had pool water in his lungs, he didn’t catch the second part of that question. After you read this story, I think you will agree that the Combat Diver Qualification Course (CDQC) at the Special Forces Underwater Operations School in Key West, Florida, takes the prize. So, we spend a lot of time talking with each other about the best teaching methods. "The school has really come a long way. Working under the water can be even more unforgiving. I saw a couple videos of the navy guys who were in my class. They tried the course and decided it wasn't for them. U.S Army Special Forces Combat Diver School? 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. There is no warning sensation, and victims typically drown quietly. They will push that button again and again until you forever ignore it or quit. For example, combat divers often use diver propulsion devices, DPDs, small, open submarines capable of carrying two divers. We don't have to choose anything. Enlisted; Active Duty; Army Reserve; Not all Army operations take place on land. 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. They advise that the key to passing it is not to panic but to remain calm, which for some students is easier said than done.Drown-proofing requires swimmers' hands and feet to be bound with Velcro straps. "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. However, should they fail a second time, they are recycled to the next iteration of the 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. But after working with combat divers in his group, he changed his mind. Scuba Diver- This type of Army diving involves working just below the surface of the water, for short periods of time. We understand ads might not be why you’re here, but our ad revenue is one of the ways we keep the lights on and our veteran writing staff paid. "Granted, this is a basic course, but, truly, it is an advanced course when it comes to diving and military combat operations. 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. The safety cadre guy missed a headcount because the pace was so quick. "We're very tight on the students. We need that, which is why we have these specialty teams, like dive teams and HALO teams. Most of the students decide it's just not for them," There is no advanced combat diver school. The Coast Guard Lieutenant handed me a pair of khaki shorts. Key West teaches you to turn them off. 1st Class Benjamin Tabberer, an instructor at CDQC who was nominated as instructor of the year, explained that the course goes from zero to 60 very quickly. Special Forces Combat Diving Medical Technician Course (CDMTC) ATRRS School Code: 331 . It brings you down. Furthermore, not just anyone can be selected to teach at the course. 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. Everybody wanted to get as far from the wall as possible to save on breath. You hear it in Special Forces and around Rangers. There was another drill called crossovers. 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. The guy was blowing the whistle pretty fast — I am sure they had procedures and limits, but I never figured out what they were. The Prep course is formally listed as 8 weeks long but is actually 9 weeks with the inclusion of an inprocessing “Zero Week” . 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. What recruits do need, however, is mental and physical toughness, as well as the will to learn. Dive prep is mainly just going over what are called In Water Procedures (IWPs). Tabberer said. The cadre were very familiar with shallow-water blackout and watched for it constantly. 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. 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. One must excel. 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. "I thanked God that I was alive, but there were times that I got pretty down. The first week, they issued full open circuit gear, complete with twin 80-cubic-foot tanks. 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. 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These divers have similar skills and qualifications as professional divers.In the United States Army, they are members of the Corps of Engineers.In the British Army they may be Royal Engineer Divers or Commando Engineer Divers Dive prep is designed to weed out people and it's tough for a reason. "As Talmadge began regaining strength and mobility, he did laps around the nurses' station. "Cadre members agree that potential candidates for the course must be mature, disciplined, intelligent. If you have any trace of claustrophobia or fear of drowning, the clever instructors will find it. They researched and asked around before taking the plunge and applying for the course. 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. "ELITE SOLDIERSWhile virtually every instructor or staff member at the CDQC will humbly say that what they do is just another way to get to work, indeed there is something that sets apart the Special Forces combat diver from the standard Green Beret. Non-prior service candidates arrive at Prep directly after finishing basic training. Here are 10 things Airborne students will encounter when going through Jump School: 1. Army Special Forces Underwater Operations School makes its mark on Key West. 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. "I want to choose my words very carefully here, because this isn't for everybody, just like Airborne School is not for everybody. 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). That and lots of hip flexor involvement. That's what influenced me to go SF. When you get "hit" it looks like it sucks lol, those instructors have fun with you guys. "It's that determination, that drive that they're always looking to be better, better than everybody else. My question is really geared towards divers. By Sgt. Even too many quizzes. Soldiers meeting the right criteria may attend specialized schools and leadership training. I’ve been assigned to an EOD candidate dive prep class, and we start in about three weeks. 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. 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. The Army Diving Supervisor (ADS) course is an 8-week course designed to test experienced Corporals and Officers in the skills required to be an ADS. Alternatively, he'll descend ever so slightly with each exhalation. The most highly selective program available to cadets, the Combat Diver Qualification Course (CDQC) has less than fifteen cadet slots each year. This two-week course, held at Fort Bragg, N.C., prepares prospective Green Berets for Special Forces Assessment and Selection (SFAS). His recovery progress was slowed when one of the numerous skin grafts developed into a painful infection. “I asked my recruiter for the hardest job I could sign up for, and he sent me here,” said Pvt. The low guys tried to stay as high as they could so they used less energy. Hopefully, one day, you can enjoy some of this, because it's a really good gig. is a Green Beret who served in Afghanistan and a number of other live fire locations. "That kind of complacency will get a guy killed. "Being regular Army, a commander makes your decisions. "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. We would appreciate it tremendously if you could whitelist us in your adblocker. Shane Minnick, assistant operations sergeant at SF Underwater Operations School, explained that self-contained underwater breathing apparatus or scuba diving is an open-circuit system. He was not breathing, had no pulse, and had water in his lungs. The purpose of this drill was explained several times, but the story was never the same twice and never made any sense. Chuck sank peacefully to the bottom of the pool, his airway completely obstructed by a swimming pool full of water. 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’s how we can continue producing high quality coverage of warfare and global issues for you to enjoy. Students will learn basic diving and advanced rescue diving principles during … © 2020 The SOFREP Media Group. 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. I did this correctly only once, on test day. That's not going to work," Smith emphasized. Getting "Selected" at SFAS will enable a candidate to continue to the next of the four phases. Both dive courses are extremely advanced and competitive for operational forces, so cadets who gain these rare opportunities prepare diligently over a long period. 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. "So at that point, they need more team training. 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. 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. 1. Graduates are awarded the Combat Diver Qualification Badge. They're operating as an entire element, a 10- to 12-man element, depending on class size. Sometimes, repair, construction and patrolling take place beneath the surface. Just another day’s work. I took the two years to go through the Q-course and then went to an active group. Sweepstakes: Enter to win $4,000 in prizes →. One must train beyond the limits of what is considered the norm. He didn't merely catch shrapnel from the blast. I overheard the cadre mentioning that Chuck was a recycle. He was resuscitated and saw a bright light approaching. At that point, there were about 25 guys still in the class. Say what you want about any other class anywhere in the world. Once the initial tests are completed, the course moves on at full speed.Sgt. "Talmadge advises anyone who might be interested in attending or becoming an instructor at CDQC to get the ball rolling. hey brother, i'm army EOD, but just in case you don't get any of my naval brothers responding to you, i can tell you that the dive school is pretty tough. 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. 1st Class William C. Plaag Jr., who is senior instructor at SFUWO. On the cadre’s whistle, you let go, pushed off and swam underwater to the other side. That is where he nearly died. Master Sgt. One side went low and the other went high. Course Duration: 3 Weeks, 15 training days . The Prep training staff includes olympic-trial athletes, prior operators, a sports psychologist, nutritionist, stre… "When you exhale underwater, the air, the bubbles come up to the surface. If I am revived and offered a chance to quit, I am going to take it. He saved my life," he said, adding that he's had approximately 40 surgeries to repair damage and reconstruct his leg. To comment on this article please login or create an account. up to be a diver,” said Staff Sgt. Air Force Combat Dive Course is a SOCOM approved course that incorporates diving fundamental in both Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus (SCUBA) and closed circuit underwater breathing apparatus (UBA). Was An Improvised Propane Bomb Used In The Nashville Bombing? 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. In essence, this course is basic, intermediate and advanced all in one," Tabberer said.Once the pre-qualification tests are done, candidates get familiar with open-circuit equipment and do some open-water swims in the bay. But, the mission always comes first.ELITE PROFESSIONALSThe Special Forces combat dive community - Army, Navy, and Air Force - has contributed more than its share to the war on terrorism, having lost several men during the course of the last few years. And you can probably find a consensus about the CDQC course as one of the hardest - mentally and physically demanding - in the Army. PURPOSE. This course helps prepare students for the rigors of training and the demands of these lifestyles. The training is physically and mentally exhausting, so preparation above and beyond the basic requirements of the school is mandatory. The AIRR guys went down to Florida for their schools, and the ND and EOD guys stayed in Great Lakes for dive prep. Share on Twitter Sgt. Chuck remembers the story again from this point onward. If you are trying to prepare for the Special Forces Combat Diver Qualification Course then you must do PT with your local Dive Team. Talmadge's left leg was severely injured by a direct hit from a rocket-propelled grenade. "Especially if you're already a diver and looking to do instructor time, this is the place to do it. It's the heart. He was quiet and in great shape. SO prep does their own thing. (formerly known as SOPC I – Special Operations Prep Course. Special Forces Sergeant Kills Three in Illinois Shooting, The Blackwater Pardons: Why POTUS Did the Right Thing, Meet Fritz, the Army K9 Just Awarded a Medal for Action in Syria, Your Subscription Supports our Veteran Staff. "We can't just send them out of here with a 70 percent and think, 'Oh, they're probably good enough.' The School is designed to prepare military divers and skilled submarine professionals. 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). There was a designated safety officer who counted heads and made sure everyone resurfaced. 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. If you have a better story, I want to read it. 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. 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. ""You know, you were at the top of your game, top of the hill, and now, you can't do anything. "I know some awesome operators I would go to combat with any day, and they're not combat divers. Other training includes obstacle courses, rucksack marches, diving physics, dive tables, metric manipulations, medical terminology, dive terminology, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, weapons qualifications, history of PJs, and leadership reaction course. Watch: Marine Saves Child from Burning Car. "By Weeks Four, Five and Six, these guys are pretty much divers," explained Sgt. These specialties are one notch above the standard (Special Forces duties). "A common personality characteristic found among Special Forces is the desire to be the best at everything, Oquendo elaborated further. They selected Fleming Key, and during the next 20 years, the site grew from a collection of tents to an advanced maritime special operations training facility.Early dive technology can also be attributed to military contributions. 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? 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Leave the compound before 1200 on the graduation date learned about the SF combat Diver Qualification course dedicated! Were, “ do you want about any other class anywhere in classroom! Decided I want to go to combat with any day, and they could not the! Sit in the system, leaving a Diver, ” said staff Sgt Smith emphasized who is senior instructor SFUWO... Are pretty much divers, '' as they would direct you over to the iteration! The taxi is able to get the ball rolling time you had you thought about how powerfully sucked! Halo teams training I have ever done, even though I did not nearly die like Chuck must bob to!
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