Seven sailors have graduated from the clearance-diving course – one of the toughest courses Navy has to offer – at the Australian Defence Force Diving School at HMAS Penguin.
CAPTION: Graduates of Basic Clearance Divers Course 87 (standing) at HMAS Penguin, in Sydney, with Australian Fleet Commander Rear Admiral Jonathon Mead (centre, front) and other senior Royal Australian Navy officers, after their course graduation. Photo by Able Seaman Shane Cameron.
Story by Lieutenant Geoff Long.
Commander Australian Fleet Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead welcomed the Navy’s newest Clearance Divers, which included the first two female sailors to graduate from the course.
Addressing the graduates as head of the clearance-diving community, Rear Admiral Mead congratulated the class on their achievement and said it was one of the most exciting times to be a clearance diver.
“You may, in the course of your careers, take part in day- and night-diving operations, in depths of more than 50 metres,” Rear Admiral Mead said.
“You may undertake airborne insertion and extraction, expeditionary reconnaissance and support operations in the maritime environment.
“This requires special skills, mental fortitude and a level of fitness – attributes that you all possess and I congratulate you on your achievement.”
One graduate, Seaman Clearance Diver Abby, said graduating was a proud and exciting moment.
“The course has been challenging and I’ve loved the camaraderie with the other participants, but now I’m looking forward to getting on with the job,” she said.
Dux of the course Seaman Clearance Diver Kaine said he was happy that all of the hard work had paid off.
“I’m going to enjoy our final time together but I’m now looking forward to putting the skills I’ve learned into practice and joining Clearance Dive Team Four,” Kaine said.
Australian Clearance Dive Team Four is based at HMAS Stirling in Western Australia.
Warrant Officer of the Navy Deb Butterworth said the course was widely acknowledged as the hardest initial course in the Navy and, as such, was supported by senior officers on graduation day.
Over the 60-week course, students learned basic seamanship, small arms, mine counter measures, underwater damage repair, expeditionary reconnaissance and clearance, and explosive ordnance disposal.
Trained in the disposal of explosive ordnance above and below the waterline, the new graduates will be posted to a variety of major and minor fleet units as well as clearance diving teams.
Officer in charge of the ADF Diving School Commander Ryan Kelly said it had been a high-tempo year for the school as it graduated 17 new clearance divers in total in 2019.
In addition, the school passed eight intermediate clearance divers, four advanced clearance divers, and six mine-warfare and clearance-diving officers.
Commander Kelly also congratulated the seven-member cohort from Basic Clearance Diving Course 87.
“We recognise the achievements of the seven sailors graduating from clearance-diver initial employment training, including the first two female graduates.
“This is one of the toughest [courses] in the Australian Defence Force, demanding mental and physical resilience, cognitive ability, maturity and exceptional fitness,” he said.