Navy divers have returned successfully to HMAS Waterhen, armed with new skills, and the ability to better integrate in the joint environment.
Fifteen members of the Maritime Tactical Operations Defence Element of Australian Clearance Diving Team One successfully graduated reconnaissance training conducted by the Australian Army.
It is the first time that the Navy Clearance Divers have participated with the Army the in joint reconnaissance training environment.
Three five-man patrols began the 2nd Battalion Royal Australian Regiment six week course in Queensland. Members of each patrol were rotated through the different roles gaining experience in command, signals, medical and support roles.
This provided the fundamental of reconnaissance skills of observing a position or target in a covert manner to gain intelligence. This included movement patterns and identifying methods for insertion. The divers were then trained to pass that information onwards. Specific tasks involved day and night navigation with a compass and or map and a live fire exercise including break contact drills and sneaker range. This training concluded in a final assessment called the ‘Culminator’.
Able Seaman Clearance Diver Shane Acorn said the final test was very demanding.
"It was like a 24 hour non-stop physical training session in the heat of the north where each patrol had to navigate 25 kilometre pack march with intermittent tasks such as securing and clearing a helicopter landing zone and a call for fire support," he said.
The Navy teams performed very well, and Able Seaman Acorn graduated as dux of the course for high performance in all theoretical and physical components.
Commanding Officer Team One, LCDR Matthew Carroll said he was extremely proud of the Navy effort.
"The result was exceptional and I can’t thank our Army colleagues enough for their support in providing this training. It’s relationships like this that will ensure success of Joint Operations in the future," he said.