Seven sailors graduated from Clearance Diving Course 87 at the Australian Defence Force (ADF) Diving School at HMAS Penguin, one of the toughest courses Navy has to offer.

Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead, welcomed the Navy’s newest clearance divers, including the first two female sailors to graduate from the course.

Addressing the graduates as head of the clearance diving community, Rear Admiral Mead congratulated them on their achievement, saying it was one of the most exciting times to be a clearance diver.

“You may, in the course of your careers, take part in day and night diving operations, in depths of more than 50 metres,” Rear Admiral Mead said.

“You may undertake airborne insertion and extraction, expeditionary reconnaissance and support operations in the maritime environment.

“This requires special skills, mental fortitude and a level of fitness – attributes that you all possess and I congratulate you on your achievement.”

One of the graduates, Seaman Clearance Diver Abby, said graduating was a proud and exciting moment.

“The course has been challenging and I’ve loved the camaraderie with the other participants, but now I’m looking forward to getting on with the job,” she said.

Graduate Seaman Clearance Diver Kaine, who was awarded Dux of the course, said he was happy that all of the hard work had now paid off.

“I’m going to enjoy our final time together but I’m now looking forward to putting the skills I’ve learnt into practice and joining Clearance Dive Team Four,” he said.

“This is one of the toughest in the ADF, demanding mental and physical resilience, cognitive ability, maturity and exceptional fitness.”

Australian Clearance Dive Team Four is based at HMAS Stirling in Western Australia.

Over the 60-week course, the students learn basic seamanship, small arms, mine counter-measures, underwater damage repair, expeditionary reconnaissance and clearance and explosive ordnance disposal.

Trained in the disposal of explosive ordnance above and below the waterline, the new graduates will be posted to a variety of major and minor fleet units as well as clearance diving teams.

Officer in Charge of the ADF Diving School, Commander Ryan Kelly, said it had been a high-tempo year for the school, with 17 clearance divers graduating.

The school also passed eight intermediate clearance divers, four advanced clearance divers and six mine warfare and clearance diving officers in 2019.

Commander Kelly also congratulated the seven-member cohort from Basic Clearance Diving Course 87.

“We recognise the achievements of the seven sailors graduating from Clearance Diver Initial Employment Training, including the first two female graduates,” Commander Kelly said.

“This is one of the toughest in the ADF, demanding mental and physical resilience, cognitive ability, maturity and exceptional fitness.”

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