The Air Force has created its own badge to recognize airmen who are combat divers, after relying on a Navy decoration to honor its own for the past 16 years.
Chief of Staff Gen. Charles “CQ” Brown Jr. recently approved the new decoration. The Air Force Combat Dive Course was established at Naval Support Activity Panama City, Florida, in 2006; since then, graduates had been receiving the Navy’s scuba badge to recognize their accomplishment.
“Navy scuba divers are trained for submarine and salvage diving,” Senior Master Sgt. Christopher Uriarte, an Air Force Command Dive Program manager and diver, said in a press release. “In contrast, U.S. Air Force combat divers are trained in the fundamentals of underwater tactical diving for insertion, extraction, and maritime rescue and recovery operations.”
Since 2006, the Air Force Combat Dive Course has produced more than 3,000 graduates, according to information provided by the Air Force Personnel Center.