By CEC(SCW/MDV) Terence Juergens, UCT 2
CM1(SCW/DV) Adam Cooper, UCT 2, removes drill steel from the seafloor after completing rapid penetration tests off the coast of Naval Support Facility Diego Garcia, Feb. 11. Photo by SW1(SCW/DV) Cody Oswald
Seabee Divers from Underwater Construction Team (UCT) 2’s Construction Diving Detachment Charlie (CDD/C) spent February and early March deployed to Naval Support Facility (NSF) Diego Garcia to inspect, maintain and repair fleet moorings and off-shore hydro-acoustic cables in the Indian Ocean. These waterfront facilities provide vital support to U.S. and allied operations in the region.
Shortly after arriving on two C-130s with more than 40,000 pounds of diving and support equipment, 12 members of CDD/C began conducting diving operations, inspecting two fleet mooring buoys in support of fleet operations in the Indian Ocean.
During inspections, divers utilized specialized tools to measure chain links identifying and documenting excessive wear. Seabee divers also replaced more than 150 sacrificial zinc anodes that provide cathodic (corrosion) protection, extending the life span and serviceability of fleet moorings.
CEC(SCW/MDV) Terence Juergens, UCT 2, replaces zinc anodes on Hydro-acoustic Data Acquisition (HDAS) cables off the coast of Naval Support Facility (NSF) Diego Garcia, Feb. 22. Photo by SW1(SCW/DV) Cody Oswald
In support of future fleet mooring installations, members of CDD/C conducted work unique to Seabee divers, collecting hydrographic and geotechnical survey data. They used underwater hydraulics to operate a rapid penetration test (RPT) unit to drive steel rods at measured intervals in over 80 feet of seawater (FSW). The amount of time it takes to penetrate 2-foot increments is recorded, along with torque measurements at the end of each rod. Engineers from the Naval Facilities Engineering Command will use this data to design mooring solutions based on bottom type and density.
The final task for UCT 2 divers was to inspect and repair two Hydro-acoustic Data Acquisition System (HDAS) cables located outside a lagoon north of the island. The cables start from the shore and extend to 110 feet of seawater until they plunge to the ocean floor 600 feet below the crystal clear water of the Indian Ocean.
SW1(SCW/DV) Cody Oswald, UCT 2, measures the distance between stabilization points on Hydro-acoustic Data Acquisition System (HDAS) cable off the coast of Naval Support Facility Diego Garcia, Feb. 22. Photo by CEC (SCW/MDV) Terence Juergens
“This by far is what I’ve been waiting for,” said EO1(SCW/DV) Manuel Terrero, assistant officer in charge, CDD/C. “The dives we conduct outside the lagoon are the best in the world, and we’re the only ones that dive out there. Every dive is like watching the National Geographic Channel, or peering in to a pristine aquarium.”
Battling high surf and heavy winds, divers inspected more than 3,000 feet of cable in depths up to 110 feet. Divers replaced more than 70 zinc anodes and installed 10 new stabilization points using underwater hydraulic tools.
“As a Seabee diver, we dive all around the world, from the frigid waters of the Arctic to the tropics of the Indian Ocean. This by far is the best part of our job!” said SW1(SCW/DV) Cody Oswald, project supervisor.
Seabee divers begin their careers as non-diving ‘Bees, learning construction skills. This allows them to bring a unique problem-solving capability to diving and underwater construction, often functioning in depths up to 190 feet of seawater.
This is the first of seven locations during Construction Diving Detachment Charlie’s six-month deployment. CDD/C travels by military airlift, moving 40,000 pounds of gear more than 40,000 miles across six countries to accomplish seven missions, including four Pacific Fleet exercises. They do this without having to return to their home base for re-supply. From the logistics of moving 20 tons of equipment by naval airlift to life support sustainment, the detachment is a completely autonomous unit, led by a senior enlisted officer in charge.
CM2(SCW/DV) Nathan Emmett takes ‘go-no-go’ measurements on a Fleet Mooring riser chain off the coast of Naval Support Facility (NSF) Diego Garcia, March 1. Photo by SW1(SCW/DV) Cody Oswald