KUWAIT NAVEL BASE, Kuwait--The U.S. Army dive field is not a large one. With less than 150 Soldiers in its Corps, it's a small community. 25 of these Soldiers are deployed to the Kuwait Naval Base, Kuwait, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom with the 511th Engineer Dive Team. In an effort to show more people what they do, the detachment sent out an invite for Soldiers to spend a day diving at the Kuwait Naval Base, under strict supervision and aid of the Dive Team. This all day diving event also gave them the opportunity to hold an underwater promotion ceremony, promoting their company commander, 1st Lt. Edouard De Courreges, to the rank of Captain.
After an almost two week notification, Soldiers came out Tuesday to experience a forty foot deep diving experience where divers with the 511th lowered them to the port floor with the Surface Supply Diving System. The system consists of a large diving helmet that allows the diver to speak and breathe freely without having to bite down on a regulator. Once on the bottom, Soldiers are given a small task to perform to get a better idea of what it's like working underwater.
"It's not something we normally do, but it's a good way to show people what our work is like and it allows them to have some fun too," said De Courreges.
During Thursday's dive day, De Courreges, the Detachment commander for the 511th, was promoted by the 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team deputy commander, Col. Sean Ward, in an underwater ceremony to the rank of Captain. According to De Courreges, it was actually 1st Sgt. Ray Ramirez who brought the idea of an underwater promotion ceremony to the 53rd IBCT.
Once on the port floor, Col. Ward promoted De Courreges as a diver with an underwater camera documented the event. Above water, a Soldier reads the attention to orders for those participating in the dive day.
Col. Ward, who took advantage of the opportunity to go diving, said he enjoyed the experience; the promotion was one of the most unique he's done so far.
"Definitely the neatest promotion ever," said Ward.