Dive team opens door to the past

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Fletcher Wall (author), CPOIS David Connolly (author)

Members of the Clearance Diving Association are shown current diving equipment by members of Australian Clearance Diving Team Four during a visit to HMAS Stirling. (photo: CPOIS David Connolly)
Members of the Clearance Diving Association are shown current diving equipment by members of Australian Clearance Diving Team Four during a visit to HMAS Stirling.

On the 23 April, Clearance Diving Team Four held an informative and interactive demonstration for approximately 70 members of the Royal Australian Navy Clearance Divers Association as part of the five day biennial reunion held in Perth, Western Australia. 

Clearance Divers Association members and their partners visited Clearance Diving Team Four and were appraised of the recent introduction of capability enhancements ranging from dive systems to underwater navigation and search equipment. 

Commanding Officer Clearance Diving Team Four , Lieutenant Commander Damien Munchenberg stated this type of event was crucial in acknowledging the development of the Clearance Diving branch since 1951 to the present day across several generations. Leading Seaman Clearance Diver Van Den Broek and Able Seaman Clearance Diver Wheeldon from Clearance Diving Team Four both had their Clearance Diver qualified fathers in the audience during the presentation.  

Recently retired Chief Petty Officer Clearance Diver Paul Wheeldon receives a plaque recognising his long service to the branch from the Commanding Officer of Australian Clearance Diving Team Four, Lieutenant Commander Damien Munchenberg, during a visit by the Clearance Diving Association.

Recently retired Chief Petty Officer Clearance Diver Paul Wheeldon receives a plaque recognising his long service to the branch from the Commanding Officer of Australian Clearance Diving Team Four, Lieutenant Commander Damien Munchenberg, during a visit by the Clearance Diving Association.

“I grew up listening to my dad talk about the exciting work he did as a Clearance Diver. It’s pretty much why I joined the navy, plus I now also get the opportunity to do some very interesting work in unique operating environments.” Able Seaman Wheeldon said.

Also of significance was the attendance of Jake Linton who qualified from the inaugural Basic Clearance Diver Course (BCD) 1/1955 and Seaman Clearance Diver Woods from BCD 82/2015 the most recent graduate from the Royal Australian Navy Diving School spanning 60 years.

The display encompassed all aspects of current Clearance Diver employment including Underwater Damage Repair (UDR), Mine Counter Measures (MCM) Maritime Explosive Ordnance Disposal (MEOD) and Maritime Tactical Operations (MTO).

The event also provided the opportunity for the Commanding Officer to present Chief Petty Officer Clearance Diver Wheeldon, with a plaque as a concluding memento of his 43 years of distinguished service in the Royal Australian Navy.