Ready to board
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Combat divers assigned to 10th Special Forces Group prepare to land onto the Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC), a hovercraft, in the Pacific Ocean near Camp Pendleton, California, Oct. 23, 2023. The U.S. Navy and 10th Special Forces Group combat divers conducted joint operations by successfully navigating their zodiacs to infiltrate within intercostal and coastal waters. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Isaih Vega) VIEW ORIGINAL
Surf Passage Training
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A combat dive team assigned to 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) prepares to return to open sea during surf passage training on Camp Pendleton, California, October 16, 2023. Returning to open sea after exfiltration from a beach-landing site is one of the most essential tasks combat divers must master during sea operations. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Luis M. Solorio) (Photo Credit: Sgt. Luis Solorio) VIEW ORIGINAL

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. — In the uncertainty of the Pacific Ocean, combat divers assigned to 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) successfully completed their annual dive requalification exercise on Oct. 10 - 27, 2023.

With overcast skies, fast winds and cold waters, the combat diving teams planned and executed multiple maritime operations, enhancing their effectiveness in various tactics and procedures.

“We want to familiarize our divers [old and new] with different team tactics and procedures as well as exposing the team in a progression and operational glide path,” said a team captain. “We test ourselves in more advanced and punishing conditions such as intense surf, cold water, low visibility and an overall more demanding environment.”

During the 17-day training period, the two combat diving teams initiated their preparation by acquainting themselves with the Zodiac, a boat used within special operations, and diving equipment. This familiarization helps combat divers develop confidence and comfort with their equipment.

Fighting the Surf
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A combat dive team assigned to 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) fights through oncoming waves during surf passage training on Camp Pendleton, California, October 16, 2023. During surf passage training, combat divers have to quickly react and adapt to the changes in sea levels and waves to secure safe passage to open water. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Luis Solorio) VIEW ORIGINAL
Long-distance swimming
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Combat divers assigned to 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) swim to beach shore during a long-distance swimming exercise on Camp Pendleton, California, Oct. 18, 2023. The combat divers performed this training to familiarize with procedures of infiltration and exfiltration on beach landing sites while maintaining mission integrity. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Isaih Vega) VIEW ORIGINAL

The teams then carried out a series of exercises focused on extensive swimming, beach landing techniques, infiltration, extraction, navigation at depths reaching up to 120 feet beneath the water's surface and long-distance navigation. Some of these operations were conducted in daylight and under the cover of night.

By being proficient in these skills, combat divers can use their abilities as a method of infiltration to access target points in real life operations.

“For us [combat divers], diving is an ability and a skill to apply on unconventional warfare settings, which is our expertise as Green Berets,” said one of the team sergeants. “It makes Green Berets calmer and more lethal underwater and even more in any real-world situations.”

The divers also had the opportunity to work alongside the U.S. Navy, performing long range movement. This tactic is used to infiltrate target points within the intercoastal or coastal waters.

The teams also took advantage of practicing with a landing craft air cushion, or LCAC. The LCAC is a type of hovercraft used to carry out smaller boats for longer distances in more demanding conditions to complete this exercise.

“We are always looking to do joint exercises with other U.S. military branches and even with partner allies,” said a team captain. “Today, we had the opportunity to work with the U.S. Navy in this operation and it was a success.”

Somewhere in the Pacific Ocean
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Combat divers assigned to 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) prepare to board a U.S. Navy Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) hovercraft as part of their diving requalification exercise on Camp Pendleton, California, October 23, 2023. Combat divers use LCACs to perform Long Range Movements (LRM) to reach long-distance targets on intercoastal or coastal locations during infiltration and beach landing operations. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Luis Solorio) VIEW ORIGINAL
Rig Check
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Combat divers assigned to 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) complete rig checks before their dive on Camp Pendleton, California, Oct. 16, 2023. Checking equipment prevents serious injuries and allows them to breathe long periods of time while maintaining low profile. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Isaih Vega) VIEW ORIGINAL

Lt. Col. Matthew Mesko, 2nd Battalion, 10th SFG (A) commander, emphasized the importance of mastering different operation domains as the special operations command finds new ways of mitigating operational strategic threats in the maritime domain.

Green Berets defy the belief that they excel only on land; they excel in maritime environments too, proving their expertise in any conditions.

“Our teams here are practicing their mastery in waterborne infiltration methods, improving their lethality across all kinds of domains,” said Mesko. “10th SFG (A) has a proud track record of presenting the best maritime dive capabilities. These gentlemen right here work hard to foster and cultivate that reputation within the country and with our allies.”

An old saying tells that water is unforgiving, however, these elite warriors operate silently and unseen in both, the shadowy depths of the water, and the unpredictable demanding surface. They represent a unique and highly specialized branch of the U.S. Army and the Special Forces Operations Command.