WiCAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
th the outside temperature reaching 85 degrees and the sun popping over the hills, more than a handful of 1st Marine Division warriors were lounging on the bottom of the pool at Las Flores, Oct. 22 and 23.
These Marines were qualifying to supervise and safety-check dive teams before future dives in the ocean.
The course began with Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Franklin Horn, a dive instructor with 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, giving instructions on what would be expected in the course.
“Today what we’re doing is a pool dive,” said Horn. “Marines will also have the opportunity to work on their emergency procedures and qualification dives.”
The brief also included instruction on how they could become dive supervisors.
“This is a dive supervisor course, so Marines are able to put together dives and supervise them anywhere,” said Chief Petty Officer Jim Lackowski, dive chief with 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion. “The Marines are going through the basic emergency procedures for the two different style rigs; the Mark 25, which is a closed-circuit, and the open-circuit scuba.”
The Mark 25 closed-circuit system is a bubble-less pure oxygen system that is used primarily for silently inserting troops into combat situations. The other rig used in the course was the typical scuba rig often used in standard scuba diving.
“Being in the pool, we’re in a controlled environment, so we can run through emergency procedures,” said Staff Sgt. Steven Smith, an intelligence specialist with 1st MSOB. “For example, if a guy passes out underwater, we can practice those procedures on how to get him to the surface and take care of him.”
Emergency procedures were a focus throughout the course.
“We go through everything from unconscious divers, divers with problems with their rigs, divers out of air and how to buddy breathe,” said Smith. “It also helps for when we go out to the ocean so we are already familiar with how to conduct those procedures.”
Units in need of a qualified supervisor can benefit from sending Marines to this course.
Once a supervisor is qualified, they can take a team or platoon to a dive sight and ensure they are safely conducting their dives.
The course not only qualifies Marines to coordinate dive teams, but also doubles as a re-qualification for those in need of a dive.
“The dive supervisor course qualifies us to supervise dive sights and run dives for our teams and platoons when we go out on deployments and do training operations here in the States,” said Smith. “On top of that, we have to maintain qualifications every year.”
At the end of the two-day course, the Marines were up-to-date on their qualifications and were ready to safely lead Marines into the water.