NAVAL SUPPORT ACTIVITY PANAMA CITY, Florida –
Graduates of the Air Force Combat Dive Course, Class 22-6, are the first to receive the new Air Force combat dive badge upon graduation Oct. 20, 2022.
For Class 22-6, earning the Air Force Combat Dive Badge is the culmination of six weeks of rigorous work at the AFCDC but for members of the Special Warfare Training Wing who designed the new badge, this is the culmination of more than two years of work.
“I am incredibly proud of our teammates who designed the badge and worked to staff it for approval, specifically Senior Master Sgt. Chris Freeman, who kept this endeavor moving forward,” said Maj. Jordan Nichols, 350th Special Warfare Training Squadron, Detachment One commander, who oversees the AFCDC. “The new badge is symbolic of what Air Force combat divers must be ready to execute in the operational environment, namely underwater tactical diving for insertion, extraction, and maritime rescue and recovery operations.”
Before the AFCDC was established in 2006, Air Force Special Warfare trainees attended the U.S. Army Combat Diver Qualification Course or the U.S. Marine Combat Diver Course to earn the U.S. Special Operations Command combatant diver qualification, where they were awarded the Navy Scuba qualification and badge upon completion, which represents a different skillset from those of AF combat divers.
“The AF combat dive capability is crucial for the future fight,” Nichols said. "As we look toward strategic competition in the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command area of responsibility, the AF combat diver role becomes magnified because huge swaths of that domain are covered with water.”
The AFCDC is required for all pararescue, special reconnaissance, combat control, combat rescue officer and special tactics officer candidates. Airmen in these career fields often attach to sister-service Special Operations Forces teams and interoperate seamlessly in combat and austere diving missions.
The AFCDC teaches trainees diving fundamentals through open-circuit, self-contained underwater breathing apparatus and closed-circuit, underwater breathing apparatus proficiencies along with basic diving, advanced rescue diving principles and advanced combat diving fundamentals. Airmen who have completed both the open and closed-circuit portions of the AFCDC are authorized to wear the new Air Force Combat Dive Badge.
Members of the SWTW provide initial training for all U.S. Air Force Special Warfare training specialties, including combat controllers, pararescue, special reconnaissance and tactical air control party Airmen.
To learn more about AFSPECWAR Airmen or other U.S. Air Force Special Operations career opportunities, go to: https://www.airforce.com/careers/in-demand-careers/special-warfare.