International Military Students Learn How to Become Navy Divers at NDSTC

International Military Students Learn How to Become Navy Divers at NDSTC

International military students from America’s partner nations are learning how to become Navy Divers at the Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center (NDSTC), Panama City, Fla.

The international students are eligible for five courses of study taught throughout the year: The International Diving course, Navy Diver “A” school, Medical Department Diving Officer, Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) “A” school phase I, and the Amphibious Reconnaissance Corpsman course.

More than 50 international students attend these courses throughout the year, where they are integrated in classes filled primarily with U.S. students. The International Diving course is the only course comprised of all international students.

Petty Officer 1st Class Irmantes Jedenkus, a member of the Lithuanian Special Forces, recently graduated from the International Diving course and will soon begin the amphibious reconnaissance corpsman course.

“Being here and attending the International Diving course was a good experience,” said Jedenkus.I have met many people from different countries, which I have enjoyed very much.”

Lt. Guillermo Barnuevo is an instructor at NDSTC and a member of the Spanish navy. He instructs many of the international students who come to the school.

“The way we teach the classes here is definitely different than in Spain,” said Barnuevo.The curriculum is more structured, which is good – every student learns the same exact information, which is something I plan on bringing back to my country.

“The dive program in Spain is smaller than the one here,” added Barnuevo. “It’s been a great opportunity to work with great instructors at one of the best dive schools in the world.”

Learning how to become Navy divers requires strength, endurance and stamina to make it through the day, according to Lt. j.g. Hui Fen Huang, a military diver for the Taiwan navy.

“The physical training has been the best experience so far,” said Huang, who is one of two students from Taiwan who recently graduated from the International Diving course and is waiting to begin the EOD “A” School phase I. “The pull-ups have been the most challenging. We finish physical training in the morning, and then learn in the classroom – sometimes I get exhausted and sleepy, so I drink a lot of coffee!”

According to Chief Navy Diver Stephen Lowe, an instructor at NDSTC, the international students are all here to learn how to be Navy divers and how to work with other partner nations in the future.

“We teach international students so that we can train and work with them abroad, because together we are stronger,” said Lowe.

NDSTC is the center of all U.S. Navy diving and provides training to Navy, Army, Air Force, Coast Guard and all Marine Corps combatant divers. NDSTC also provides lifelong learning opportunities in areas of both personnel and professional development.

Naval Today Staff, July 6, 2012; Image: U.S.Navy