The launch of a new era in ADF diving training

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Andrew Ragless (author), ABIS Nicolas Gonzalez (photographer)

Location(s): Sydney, New South Wales

Topic(s): HMAS Penguin

Commodore Training, Commodore Michael Rothwell, AM, RAN (left) Able Seaman Clearance Diver Nick McMaster and Commandant Headquarters 6 Combat Support Brigade, Brigadier Marcus Thompson, AM cut a cake to mark the official opening of the Australian Defence Force Diving School at HMAS Penguin.  (photo: ABIS Nicolas Gonzalez)
Commodore Training, Commodore Michael Rothwell, AM, RAN (left) Able Seaman Clearance Diver Nick McMaster and Commandant Headquarters 6 Combat Support Brigade, Brigadier Marcus Thompson, AM cut a cake to mark the official opening of the Australian Defence Force Diving School at HMAS Penguin.

A new era in consolidated Navy and Army diving training has been marked by the official opening of the Australian Defence Force Diving School (ADF Diving School).
 
Perched on the shores of HMAS Penguin at Balmoral in Sydney Harbour, the diving school is the amalgamation of existing Navy and Army diving training facilities.
 
Officer in Charge, Lieutenant Commander Richard Brickacek said the opening was a significant milestone in Defence diving training.
 
“The new school will rationalise training with common diving sets and equipment, including the new Scuba Air Mod 1,” he said.
 
“For example instead of two different suites of Scuba Air equipment with two sets of curriculum, courseware and planned maintenance, we can now rationalise all this training by having the common set between the two services – Navy and Army.”
 
“This will reduce the burden on resources to support training outcomes.”
 
The official opening was conducted by Commodore Training, Commodore Michael Rothwell, and attended by Commander, 6 Combat Support Brigade, Brigadier Marcus Thompson, members of various Navy and Army Commands, the ADF Diving School and Clearance Diving Association.
 
In 2010 the Defence Education and Training Board established Commodore Training as the Manager Joint Training for ADF Diving Training.
 
This rationalisation of training saw the former RAN Diving School, established at HMAS Penguin in 1942, become the ADF Diving School which, from 2016, will deliver the directed training requirements for both Navy and Army diving capabilities.
 
The school underwent a significant upgrade in 2013 including the redevelopment of office buildings, training facilities and working accommodation including the Submarine Underwater Medical Unit and the Recompression Chamber Facility.
 
From a staff of 11 in 1942 to a joint staff of 51 in 2016, the new ADF Diving School will eventually facilitate the Scuba Air Diver and the Surface Supplied Breathing Apparatus (SSBA) courses to both Navy and Army candidates.
 
Coinciding with the official opening of the ADF Diving School, the unit launched the first of a new Vice Chief of Defence Force, Joint Service Badge.
 
The new ADF Diving School badge has an ocean background representing the area in which both services conduct diving; the colours blue and white represent Flag Alpha to signify diving operations, while the Siebe Gorman 6 bolt diving helmet represents the first helmet used by both services.
 
The crest of the Joint Service Badge Surround is Australia’s Commonwealth Star placed upon a wreath of interwoven gold and blue cloth.
 
Directly below is an escutcheon (circle shaped shield) containing the unit’s name and ‘charge’.
 
The escutcheon is surrounded by golden wattle, Australia’s national floral emblem which symbolises unity, and the resilience of wattle encapsulates the spirit of the Australian people.
 
The boomerang is incorporated in the design of the Joint Service Badge, and reflects Australia’s history and traditional land owners.
 
The boomerang also symbolises the desire for a safe return. Beneath the boomerang is a scroll containing the words ‘Australian Defence Force’.