Army divers conduct underwater demolition training

| April 22, 2016 | 0 Comments

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Story and photos by Sgt. Jon Heinrich
8th Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM — Divers with 7th Engineer Dive Detachment, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, conducted underwater demolition training, April 12-14, at Puuloa Range Complex off the coast of Iroquois Point.

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LSV-2 CW3 Harold C. Clinger

Assisting in the training was the 545th Transportation Company and 8th TSC’s Logistic Support Vessel-2 CW3 Harold C. Clinger, supporting the mission by providing transportation for the divers and the explosives.

“(We did) our annual training on LSV-2 for underwater demolition,” said 1st Lt. Charles Masters, the executive officer for 7th EDD and diving officer and range officer in charge for the training. “It entails all of our guys going in and doing their check-offs for dive, as well as getting hands-on demolition, making charges, inspecting the charges and then detonating.”

Each day, the group sailed out to the range with three charges for training, with a total of nine charges.

The charges were set to a depth of 65 feet and detonated using time-delay fuses to ensure everyone was able to get a safe distance away from the explosions.

Detonation below as seen from the surface.

Detonation below as seen from the surface.

Masters said that although there were other reasons, the primary purpose of the mission was the training itself.

“Secondary purpose is to get diver check-offs for our Soldiers,” Masters said. “In order for us to move into the ranks, we need specific check-offs for underwater demolition, salvage, etc. A tertiary purpose is to get data on the effects of underwater demolition to marine life in appropriate distances and seeing if that affects them.”

The divers used underwater cameras and a hydrophone to collect the data of the effect on the marine life created by the blasts.

A hydrophone is a device used for recording underwater acoustics that can’t be detected by humans.

Sgt. John Huff, a lead diver with 7th EDD, said training with explosives underwater could be scary at first, but that you quickly get the hang of it.

“The first time it is (scary), but after that, it’s kind of second nature,” Huff said. “You’ve just got to be confident and know your whereabouts in the water.”

Huff also said that these types of training missions are a great way for newer Soldiers to get hands-on experience.

“Giving new experiences to new guys, it’s always good to see how they react to everything,” Huff said. “The knowledge base that each and every individual has, combined as one, always benefits everybody.”

Strong winds and high waves slowed the training, Masters said. Maneuvering was difficult, along with the demolition not working properly.

Another impact the divers had to watch out for was the marine life in the vicinity of the charges.

“When we’re doing this underwater demolition range, we have to worry about marine life, especially marine mammals and turtles,” Masters said.

There was a 500-yard radius mitigation zone for the underwater demolition range, with three Zodiac boats looking for any marine life that might come into the zone that would cause them to stop the demolition, Masters added.

Masters said that despite the impacts, the training was still a success, and he enjoyed being able to do it.

“This is a great training opportunity, and we’re really glad to be working with the LSVs and 545th to gather this information both for the Navy, the military and for this training for 7th Dive,” Masters said.

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Category: News, Training

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