'Deep Blue' exercise trains master divers in Hawaii
By Staff Sgt. Gaelen LowersOctober 3, 2013
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii - 7th Engineer Dive Detachment leaders trained new master divers aboard a logistic support vessel Oct. 1, during Deep Blue, an annual exercise designed to reinforce dive operation safety and tactical proficiency.
"We make sure all of our master divers and dive supervisors are sharp with their skills and protocols, so when they go out with a dive team, they're successful," said 1st Sgt. David Chebahtah, the detachment senior master diver. "It's important that we keep all of our divers' proficiency at the highest levels. Lives depend on it."
The detachment's salvage, demolition, and recovery missions often require shallow-depth diving that demands as much attention to safety and equipment as when they dive in deep seas, said Spc. Samuel Schreier, a second class diver and role player for training scenarios.
Deep Blue prepared them for both dive environments.
Schreier described it as, "an intense week of diver casualty scenarios dealing with what could go wrong in and out of the water, and figuring out a way to fix those situations. If they stay calm and think things through, then they should be able to work it."
In one scenario a dive supervisor was tasked with quickly getting two deep sea divers into a small decompression chamber already holding another diver. Success is necessary for the divers to avoid the enormous impact that ascending from deep waters can have on the body.
Although the training was designed for diver supervisors, it was also a critical learning experience and a refresher for all involved.
"Although the youngest Soldier here may not be in charge of a dive, he is able to see these scenarios and how the supervisors react to the different situations," said Chebahtah. "In the event of an actual casualty, he will be better trained and more able to react. This is not Army mandated training. [Our detachment] makes it mandatory of all of our divers. We all rely on each other. I trust every Soldier on my team."