Recon Marines and sailors dive into training
CAMP SCHWAB, OKINAWA, Japan -- Marines and sailors with 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, executed sustainment training on basic scuba diving skills and tactics May 7 off the shore of Camp Schwab.
“This training was for service members in the battalion who have been to dive school and have their certification,” said Chief Petty Officer Richard L. Buschner, a dive leading chief petty officer with 3rd Recon Bn., 3rd Marines, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “We provide this opportunity for them to get in the water, get some bottom time, and refamiliarize themselves with the whole process of diving.”
After checking their gear for operability, the Marines loaded into combat rubber raiding craft and headed out onto the ocean.
“I had them go down to at least 60 feet, but I did not want them staying any more than 40 minutes,” said Buschner, an Arcadia, Fla., native. “That gives them a little bit of (leeway) if they go deeper than 60 feet, because the deeper you go, the less time you can stay underwater.”
Instructors like Buschner spend years developing their diving skills, as well as studying dive knowledge to pass on to fellow service members.
“Our diving parameters are based on a lot of research and training done by the Navy experimental dive unit,” said Buschner. “They have released times that would allow someone to safely go to a particular depth and come back up, without incurring any medical problems, such as nitrogen building up in people’s systems. If they come up too fast, they can basically blow up their lungs.”
Training exercises like this educate service members who may be required to dive in an operational situation, according to Staff Sgt. Timothy D. Cunningham, a reconnaissance man with the battalion. Routine familiarization of both the mechanics and knowledge of diving is necessary.
“This training is important because diving is inherently dangerous, so we need to do this in order to maintain proficiency,” said Cunningham, an Albany, N.Y., native. “We need to not only concentrate on our closed circuit training, but our open circuit scuba diving proficiency as well. Because this system is used for multiple missions, such as if equipment or personnel are lost (at sea), then we will have to go out and conduct open circuit scuba dives in order to find them.”
To keep their dive certification updated, Navy divers have to make four dives per quarter, and Marines must complete four dives per year.
“Routine training like this is a necessity,” said Cpl. Christopher M. Casilio, an assistant team leader and reconnaissance man with the battalion. “It makes sure everyone is still maintaining their knowledge about diving.
“It keeps you current so you can continue to dive for training and deployed missions, should they occur,” added Casilio, a Bethlehem, Pa., native. “It is like any perishable knowledge – if you do not do it, you are going to lose it.”