Some of the tasks performed by Sailors in the Navy Diver (ND) rating can be traced directly back to the operations performed by such World War II outfits as Navy Scouts and Raiders, Navy Combat Demolition Teams, and Navy Underwater Demolition Teams, as well as the Office of Strategic Services’ Operational Swimmers, five of whom took part in the first submarine-based Underwater Demolition Team operation.

And as a salient observer might note, many of the jobs performed by these groups were also passed on to the Navy’s Special Warfare Operators—commonly called SEALs as an acronym of their job title of “Sea Air and Land”—and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) operators. So it should come as no surprise that one of the major operational tasks carried out by Navy Divers is in support of SEAL and EOD missions.

All Navy Divers—where First Class, Second Class, or Master—are trained in the operation of two pieces of equipment essential to a great many SEAL and EOD operations: the Swimmer Delivery Vehicle (SDV) and the Dry Deck Shelter (DDS). Because many Special Warfare missions are launched in littoral zones, SEALs need a method to reach shore or target vessel quickly and without needlessly expending energy or oxygen supplies. Enter the SDV, a “midget” submersible vehicle that can carry several SEALS, their equipment, and extra oxygen and reduce transit time to a fraction of what it would take for the SEALs swimming on their own. SDVs come in two versions; a “wet” variant in which the occupants are exposed to the water around them, and a “dry” version that was, in essence a miniature submarine. (Production of the latter version was cancelled in 2006.)

Dry Deck Shelters work in tandem with SDVs and their operators in a way similar to the “air locks” seen on spaceships in science-fiction movies. Mounted onto a compatible submarine, the DDS consists of three chambered compartments. One is a hyperbaric chamber for treatment of divers suffering from the effects of decompression; a middle compartment is where operators can enter from (or exit into) the submarine; and the third is a hangar-type room that can hold an SDV or up to twenty Special Warfare Operators along with their Combat Rubber Raiding Rafts (CRRCs). Though introduced in the 1990s, the DDS systems is likely to be in use by Sailors in the ND rating for many years to come.

Related Items
CWO Diver Hard Shoulder Boards
CWO Diver Soft Epaulets
CWO Diver Collar Device

Navy Diver Qualification Badge
Black (for SDB and DDB Jackets)

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