Photo Information

A Special Amphibious Reconnaissance Corpsman gives the signal for all clear before entering a pool during proficiency dive training aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., July 22. The SARCs were supported by Navy Divers from 1st Reconstruction consolidated dive locker.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Seth Starr

SARCs sharpen their diving skills to support Marines

5 Aug 2014 | Lance Cpl. Seth Starr 1st Marine Division

Special Amphibious Reconnaissance Corpsman with 1st Reconnaissance Battalion recently conducted proficiency dive training aboard Camp Pendleton Calif., July 22, 2014.

The training consisted of a 10-minute dive in order to familiarize the SARCs with their equipment and operating procedures when submerged underwater.  Safety procedures and precautions were taken to ensure proper acclimation before and after the diving event.  

Navy Divers from 1st Reconstruction consolidated dive locker facilitated the dive and aided the SARCs by offering their own expertise and experience while coaching poolside.  

Petty Officer 2nd Class Mick Miller said the purpose of conducting proficiency dive training is to hone their skills as combatant divers.

“A combatant diver’s most important contribution to combat commanders is their ability to perform covert amphibious entry into hostile beaches, ports or vessels to perform reconnaissance missions or other objectives as the commander may deem necessary,” said Miller. “As SARCs, we are required to make four dives bi-annually to ensure all divers are competent and comfortable with their equipment and the task at hand.”

In addition to being combatant divers, SARCs are required to perform medical support to reconnaissance units. Operationally they perform a wide array of disciplines ranging from parachuting, open and closed circuit diving, hyperbaric medicine, clinical medicine, trauma medicine and the fundamentals of reconnaissance and reconnaissance patrolling skills.

“Anywhere a [reconnaissance] team goes, a skilled corpsman capable of providing world-class care throughout the full scope of a mission is required,” said Miller.  “Anywhere a casualty may occur, a SARC needs to be right there to stabilize and treat his recon Marines.”

Chief Petty Officer James Lackowski, a master diver with 1st Reconstruction Consolidated dive locker, said that performing under such variable conditions is not a simple task.

“These guys have a large responsibility on their hands when it comes to maintaining skills as a diver and looking after the welfare of their Marines,” said Lackowski.  “It’s not easy.”

SARCs attend a two-year training pipeline that includes in depth practice of dive medicine and training within a hyperbaric chamber in order to assess, identify and treat all diving maladies within a 10-minute window, explained Miller.

“Ultimately, the biggest challenge is staying proficient in all of our skills,” said Miller. “Diving is just one task among many which we must master in order to be successful in our jobs.”

1st Marine Division