Written by Lt. j.g. Katie Braynard
Dive operations have been an integral part of all Coast Guard missions for years. Even though the history of Coast Guard diving traces its roots back to the 1940’s, divers have only been made up of Coast Guard men and women participating in a four-year, special assignment tour following completion of dive training.
But now, Coast Guard men and women can choose diving as a primary career path and specialty – with the establishment of the 22nd Coast Guard rating.
On April 1, 2015, in ceremonies that occurred across the fleet, 48 Coast Guard members officially became the first rated Coast Guard divers.
All members who officially became a Coast Guard diver in these ceremonies received a personalized certificate, as well as a personal letter from the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Steven Cantrell, welcoming them into the Coast Guard’s newest rating.
The diver specialty – which will be DV for enlisted members and DIV for chief warrant officers – was officially established after years of research into the dive program and dive career management.
The dive rating will remain relatively small within the Coast Guard – with only about 64 planned billets ranging from E-5 to E-9.
So, you want to become a diver…
With the dive rating officially established, there have been some adjustments to the process for becoming a Coast Guard diver.
Anyone wishing to become a Coast Guard diver must already be a rated E-4 when they apply for the dive program.
An ALGENL message soliciting for any interested personnel will be issued annually, usually in February.
From there, candidates will need to complete a series of tasks in order to be considered for entry into the rating. Once candidates have been screened, they will go through a pre-screening program that summer at Training Center Cape May.
“The pre-screener training is just a taste of what they will experience at dive school,” said Cmdr. Mick Mulligan, diver rating implementation chair.
“This isn’t a prep – this is a screen,” added Ken Andersen, chief of subsurface capabilities. “We’re not preparing them, all we are doing is saying, “Ok – I think they’ll be able to make it.”
While there are still opportunities to lateral over to the diver rating, these will only be done on a case-by-case basis and must be done through the change of rating process.