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Becoming a Navy Diver

Discussion in 'New Divers and Those Considering Diving' started by rna, May 24, 2004.

  1. rna

    rna Guest


    I'm 18 and I'm soon joining the Navy. My plans are to become a SEAL, however I'm not a U.S. citizen yet therefore I'm not eligible for the program. I thought about becoming a Navy Diver until I obtain my citizenship since that would give me a huge advantage in BUD/S, especially in the second phase (combat diving). My question is, am I eligible for Navy Diver program as a green card-holder? I've done some research on the internet but couldn't get the straight answer, I even called my recruiter and he said he's "pretty sure" that I can enter the program without being a U.S. citizen. Pretty sure is not good enough for me though so I thought I'd ask the people in the field for assistance. Any help regarding my question is always appreciated.

    Thank you.


    What is the minimum enlistment for Navy Divers?
  2. Don Burke

    Don Burke Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: southeastern Virginia
    Show your recruiter this and have him make some phone calls.

  3. Duane S.

    Duane S. Guest

    A word of advice regarding military recruiters. Everything that comes out of their mouth is too get your signature on that piece of paper that makes you a piece of government property. I went into the navy back in 92' with dreams of becoming a diver, instead I got stuck doing a job that I hated for my entire enlistment, because my recruiter said it was a "source rating" for diver. I found out in boot that I didn't qualify because my vision was a little off. Of course this was a concern for me that my recruiter "researched" for me and said it wasn't a problem before enlisting.

    You must also remember that diver, and spec ops jobs, cannot be guaranteed to you. Such programmes usually have quite a waiting list of people who are all fighting to get in. Don't expect to make it too dive school on your first enlistment. Even if you meet all their standards you may end up with a long wait! Having a green card doesn't help, as this may limit your eligability for security clearences.

    The military can be a great experience. Whether you make diver or not, take advantage of all the opportunities offered you while you're in. If nothing else you can always go to commercial diving school when you get out on the GI bill, and get paid a lot more to dive.
  4. rmediver2002

    rmediver2002 Instructor, Scuba

    First thing first, diving can be guaranteed right out of boot, and unless you do get it in writing I would not hold my breath about getting to school during your first enlistment. If your recruiter does not know about the program then you need to speak with one that does. If you do not make it through the school you will be assigned according to the needs of the Navy (anyplace and any job they want) for the duration of your enlistment, don't go thinking you will pass go knowing you will pass.

    Anything and everything can be waivered, vision was harder for navy guys to get waivered but is pretty much the norm. for the Army divers. I had to get a waiver to dive for uncorrectable vision in one eye.

    Second thing though, diving is a professon all it's own, it is not a steping stone to special warefare. The techniques, training, and mission are entirely different. Do not think that one is going to tranfer straight over to the other... Dive school is not Specwar training...

    The minimum enlistment was four years when i was in but that may have changed since 9/11

    Duane is right on on this, if you take advantage of the chance your being given it can be the most rewarding experience of your life...

    Deep Sea!

    Good Luck!!
  5. Gary D.

    Gary D. ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Post Falls, Idaho
    I have to say is good luck. Navy diving is a great occupation and well rewarded in later years. You learn diving skills that you can use for your entire lifetime. The first thing to do is get into school and then hope you can pass it. Your attuitude will control this part.

    Being a SEAL on the other hand is another world and nothing like you see on TV. You will not be diving a lot as you would as a Navy Diver. But you will most likely spend a lot of time in the water being cold and miserable.

    Hand a Navy Diver a wrench and he knows what to do with it but give him a firearm and it’s, what do you do with this thing? Give a SEAL a wrench and he will try and figure out how to disable someone with it.

    Being a Navy Diver is hard on family life but no where as hard as being a SEAL would be. Just the nature of the job makes serious relationships hard if not almost impossible.

    If you’re looking for life long benefit out of diving go for salvage and repair. If you’re looking for something else go SEAL. The field you choose will also be an important factor. Several of us right here in my local area are ex-military divers. The SEALS are working in various jobs not related to diving while all of us ex-salvage/repair types are still getting paid to dive.

    Just keep in mind that the training is tough with a very high fail rate and conditions for both are from luxurious.

    My recommendation is get a little drier behind the ears before you make up your mind. One of my classes had Marines, CG, Army and Navy in it. The Marines and CG came right out of boot camp. The Marines were out after just a couple of days and the Coasties a couple of days after them. The Army and Navy were all seasoned military with at least 2 years under their belts. The Army had the highest percentage of Grads (2 out of 2) with the Navy being next. Looking back I can see where maturity played the biggest part in us graduating. The cocky attitude of the boots was the major factor in their demise.

    Don’t believe recruiter’s. They have goals to meet and are under pressure to meet those goals. When they need to boost the enlistment rate into the service, today’s atmosphere, they will pull about anything they can to get your name on the dotted line. Look at them as being car salesmen. “Some” are on the up and up while others will sell their mother into slavery to get what they want.

    Good Luck with whatever path you choose. Just keep in mind your attitude is what will control your fate in the diving field.

    Gary D.
  6. rna

    rna Guest

    Thank you all for responding to my post, I've thought about what you all said and I've decided I will take the route of a diver. I'm realistic about this profession, I expect training to be intense, and if I don't make it as a diver my first enlistnment like Duane S. said, then be it, I guess I'll just go on and enjoy my other job in the Navy for another 3 years. I want to have a career as a SEAL, not as a Navy diver, however if I do make it to Navy diving school, then second phase of BUD/S should be a breeze, or at least that's what BUD/S graduates say. Of course I have the first phase to worry about first though. rmediver2002 we've PM'ed each other, thanks for all your help. I knew Diving school is not Spec Warfare training, but I know you'll agree with me is that being a Navy Diver before BUD/S is better than not being one. Gary D. I'm not sure if SEALs are trained to do any repairs in the water with a wrench, but I'm sure they can use it for whacking someone with it too lol

    Thank you all again, I appreciate your time posting this for me. Good luck to you guys.

  7. WVMike

    WVMike Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Northern WV
    Good luck to you.

    You are smart in asking all the questions. Heed the warning, recruiters will lie to you to fill slots and billets.

    They can and will guarentee a school. But no promise you will work in the trade after school.

    Research what rate will get you the best chance to go to diving school. and What rate will give you the best chance for promotion.

    Find someone who has been there, like the ex military divers here on the board.

    For example a Bos'nmate might make Chief in 8 years, while an electronics tech might take 16 or never.

  8. BostonPops

    BostonPops Guest

    Every guy on my boat that went to dive school made it a condition of their reenlistment. They all said, "I WILL reenlist if you WILL send me to dive school." Coincidentally, they all went to dive school. I wanted to go, but since I didn't reenlist, well...

    Anyway, they all went, but they didn't become full-time divers. They served in the boat's dive division, but none of them transferred to dive billets. They all still did their "day jobs" on the boat. I don't know how it works so I don't even know if they could have requested a dive billet.

    As an aside, I can tell you that my dream would be a dive billet in Guam. What a life those guys had. But I digress...

    Finally, about the SEALs. Good luck on that. A piece of advice though...many SEAL teams did op's off our boat so I've met a lot of them. If you truly want to make it as a SEAL strive for endurance and quickness, not brute strength. All of the SEAL's I've met are thin and fast (but still strong). I've never met a big, buff SEAL. That's not to say that they can't still lift two outboard motors over their heads, though.

    All of they guys in my boot camp company that wanted to be SEALs were huge, weightlifter types. I don't know if they made it or not, but from what I saw I assume they didn't. Don't make their mistake.
  9. pasley

    pasley Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Lakewood, CA
    Endurance is more important than brute strength. Airborne School is like that too. Think Triathlon here. You need to be able to swim ashore in what ever conditions, sneak into the local vegetation, hump your 50 pound ruck up and down hill, hit your target and then get the heck out of Dodge and back to the boat. You target may be in the water, at the waters edge or inland a few miles. Remember SEAL stands for Sea, Air and Land. The may be employed by parachute, helicopter, rubber boat or scuba to hit a target.

    In my experience the Special Ops guys are usually thin and fast, with strength and endurance, but not big bulky muscles that limit flexibility. Football players are big, muscuar payers who do short spurts of a few seconds, Rugby players are thin, agil athleates who perform for 30 straight minutes. Think Rugby or Soccer.

    There is a world of difference between a Navy Diver (hard hat) doing repair and construction work and a Seal doing strictly SCUBA stuff. SEALS do recon, snatch and grab, and raids with some beach clearance stuff. If you like being wet, cold and tired, the Navy Seals are the place to be.

    Your current issue is security clearance. If the position requires it you will have to be a citizen. I am not a Navy Expert. But, seems to me Navy Seals might play around with explosives to clear beaches etc. The US Military tends not to train anyone in explosives that can’t get at least a Secret Clearance. I do not believe you will be getting a Secret Clearance without getting your citizenship.

    Ask if you need a Security Clearance to be a Navy Diver, don’t know, but I would not be surprised if you did. Ask specific questions and see the information in writing from the recruiter on the clearance issue in terms of admissions requiements.

    I do know that the service does not like to spend a few $100,000 training someone and not get the benifit of that training. If they train you to be a navy diver, the Navy may not be too fast about allowing you to switch over to SEAL which is a different type of diving.

    Now some have cast aspersions on the integrity of the Recruiters. Let me set the record straight, if it isn’t on paper, it did not happen. The recruiter is under pressure to fill positions in the service according to the needs of the service. They are there to represent the service and not you. Believe nothing they say, and only part of what is put on paper. Read the fine print and the big print. If it is not in your contact, you can’t count on it. If it is in your contract, you have a shot of it may a happen, but things can still change.
  10. pipedope

    pipedope Great White

    Because of the nature of the missions SEALS will need at least a TOP SECRET clearance. Most will soon have a SPECAT very soon.
    Remember, most of what they do never shows up in the press.

    BUD/S is not a breeze for anybody. It is part of the program that the instructors push every trainee beyond their limits every single day.

    Physical abilities are important and being able to run 'forever' is a help. Mental, and leadership skills are also very important and remember that the SEALS operate in TEAMS. They are TEAM players, there are no solo operators in the SEALS.
    For people who are not team players the SEALS is not a good choice. There are other jobs that are done by solos but they are usually drawn from the snipers or orther uniquely qualified people who usually already have most of the needed skills and are in jobs that have the needed clearance.

    In every service the divers are very highly trained and the classroom work is as tough or even more so than the physical work on land and in the water.

    I am glad that I served in the US Navy but I am also glad that I got out. :D

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