Divers hold underwater command change

| April 9, 2010 | 0 Comments

 

Story and Photos by
Sgt. Ricardo Branch
8th Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR — On a cloudless day, 12 Soldiers took their position near the edge of a pool, here, standing at attention while wearing black wet suits and large, yellow diver helmets. 

On the opposite end of the water stood their commander who suddenly gave the order, “Enter the pool!”

Capt. Adrian Biggerstaff, incoming commander of the 7th Engineer Dive Team, takes a plunge into Richardson pool, Pearl Harbor, during the 7th Engineer Dive Team change of command ceremony, March 31.On command, three officers in Army combat uniforms submerged themselves in Richardson pool, here, March 31, to conduct a time-honored tradition in any military organization: the passing of command.

The divers of the 7th Engineer Dive Team held their change of command without a band and a parade field, but in a place most comfortable for any Army divers: underwater. 

“As long as there have been dive teams, there have been underwater changes of command,” said the outgoing commander of the 7th EDT, Capt. Thomas Darrow.

“It’s a long-standing tradition that, when we get a new commander, the command is passed underwater. It’s a very special ceremony for any dive commander, and I’m proud to be a part of it,” he explained.

Darrow bid his Soldiers farewell and relinquished command to the incoming commander, Capt. Adriano Biggerstaff.

“This has been one of the best experiences in my life,” Darrow said. “Meeting these Soldiers and looking them in the eye, it was rewarding to be able to see that drive from them, to see and learn from you. 

“They came to work every day, eager and ready to accomplish any and all missions assigned to us,” Darrow continued.

During the ceremony, a handful of Soldiers jumped into the 10-foot deep pool and marched underwater to stand in formation while the command leadership trudged up from the opposite end to meet the team.

Darrow served 22 months as commander of the 7th EDT. During his tenure, the unit conducted recovery missions in Canada, Korea and Cambodia; repaired a floating breakwater in Alaska; and assisted Navy, Marine and Air Force units in missions around the world requiring underwater support.

“I can truly say it’s been an honor and privilege to command this great unit,” Darrow said. “This unit’s comprised of a different kind of a Soldier. Generally, the divers are a little smarter, tougher and don’t hesitate to let you know what they think of a situation.

Soldiers of the 7th Engineer Dive Team stand in formation at their change of command ceremony, March 31, at Richardson pool, Pearl Harbor. Such a practice fulfills a dive team tradition during any passing of command.“I can say with experience, these troops will let you know when you are wrong, and they have to in order to keep the Soldiers safe,” Darrow explained.

Biggerstaff sees his new opportunity to lead as the fulfillment of a dream he’s been pursuing for many years.

“Nine years ago, I was sitting in my barracks room in West Point and trying to find out about a rumor … my buddy told me the Army had engineer divers,” he said. “I didn’t believe him, but thanks to the power of Google, I found out the rumor was true and there are divers in Hawaii. 

“Today, that dream has come true,” Biggerstaff said. “Few people get an opportunity to command a team of divers, and it’s great to see that I’ve accomplished mine — this is my dream job. 

“The caliber of Soldiers that you work with here is above what you see anywhere else,” Biggerstaff continued. “It’s Soldiers that make a team great, and I’m now a part of that team.”

Story and Photos by Sgt. Ricardo Branch8th Theater Sustainment Command Public AffairsPEARL HARBOR — On a cloudless day, 12 Soldiers took their position near the edge of a pool, here, standing at attention while wearing black wet suits and large, yellow diver helmets. On the opposite end of the water stood their commander who suddenly gave the order, “Enter the pool!”On command, three officers in Army combat uniforms submerged themselves in Richardson pool, here, March 31, to conduct a time-honored tradition in any military organization: the passing of command.The divers of the 7th Engineer Dive Team held their change of command without a band and a parade field, but in a place most comfortable for any Army divers: underwater. “As long as there have been dive teams, there have been underwater changes of command,” said the outgoing commander of the 7th EDT, Capt. Thomas Darrow.“It’s a long-standing tradition that, when we get a new commander, the command is passed underwater. It’s a very special ceremony for any dive commander, and I’m proud to be a part of it,” he explained.Darrow bid his Soldiers farewell and relinquished command to the incoming commander, Capt. Adriano Biggerstaff.“This has been one of the best experiences in my life,” Darrow said. “Meeting these Soldiers and looking them in the eye, it was rewarding to be able to see that drive from them, to see and learn from you. “They came to work every day, eager and ready to accomplish any and all missions assigned to us,” Darrow continued.During the ceremony, a handful of Soldiers jumped into the 10-foot deep pool and marched underwater to stand in formation while the command leadership trudged up from the opposite end to meet the team.Darrow served 22 months as commander of the 7th EDT. During his tenure, the unit conducted recovery missions in Canada, Korea and Cambodia; repaired a floating breakwater in Alaska; and assisted Navy, Marine and Air Force units in missions around the world requiring underwater support.“I can truly say it’s been an honor and privilege to command this great unit,” Darrow said. “This unit’s comprised of a different kind of a Soldier. Generally, the divers are a little smarter, tougher and don’t hesitate to let you know what they think of a situation.“I can say with experience, these troops will let you know when you are wrong, and they have to in order to keep the Soldiers safe,” Darrow explained.Biggerstaff sees his new opportunity to lead as the fulfillment of a dream he’s been pursuing for many years.“Nine years ago, I was sitting in my barracks room in West Point and trying to find out about a rumor … my buddy told me the Army had engineer divers,” he said. “I didn’t believe him, but thanks to the power of Google, I found out the rumor was true and there are divers in Hawaii. “Today, that dream has come true,” Biggerstaff said. “Few people get an opportunity to command a team of divers, and it’s great to see that I’ve accomplished mine — this is my dream job. “The caliber of Soldiers that you work with here is above what you see anywhere else,” Biggerstaff continued. “It’s Soldiers that make a team great, and I’m now a part of that team.”

 

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