Many Coast Guard personnel voluntarily sign up to serve our country either for a few years or for an entire career. But once they start receiving a paycheck, they are not technically volunteers anymore. They are paid employees of the government. However, going back to why they joined a military branch in the first place many of these people have a built-in desire to serve as a volunteer. Chief Warrant Officer Clifford Mooneyham is one member who volunteers his time to assist local law enforcement as a dive team member of the Clatsop County Underwater Recovery Team in Astoria, Oregon.
Last week, Coast Guard Dive Locker West completed decompression dive training off Coast Guard Cutter George Cobb. While this wasn’t the service’s first ever decompression dive training, it was the first official decompression dive made by members of the Coast Guard’s newest rating.
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.
Formalizing the role divers play across the service’s diverse mission sets, the Coast Guard announced the creation of the diver, or DV, rate and an associated chief warrant officer, or DIV, specialty, Jan 31, 2014. Coast Guard divers have a storied history that began in the 1940s with intelligence gathering and subsurface activities supporting the Office of Strategic Services, a predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency. They were also assigned to the Navy Yard at Washington, D.C., to support salvage operations.