In a friendly yet intense competition, Combat Divers from 3rd Special Forces Group – Airborne (SFG-A) and 7th SFG-A went head to head to claim top honors in Group. In buddy team fashion, each pair of divers fought fiercely against each other in maybe the most physically demanding Combat Diver Competition to date.

Special Forces Operational Detachment – Alpha (ODA) 3315 of 3rd SFG-A narrow stiffed out their competition. ODA 3125 came second and ODA 7115 third.

The winners of 2021's Combat Diver Competition
The winners of 2021’s Combat Diver Competition

The winners received memberships to the Combat Diver Foundation (CDF) and other sweet swag.

Special Forces Green Berets are naturally type A soldiers. This, combined with a dive bubble on their chests and a chance to show the Command Team that they are the best, makes for an exciting competition.

The Diver Competition’s Many Events

The divers competed in the following:

  • Standard Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT)
  • Academic exam
  • 2x Maritime Assessment Course (MAC) events w/stress events
  • Three km surface swim (buddy team)
  • Closed-circuit navigation dive (buddy team)
  • Open-circuit search dive (buddy team)
  • 12.7-mile ruck (buddy team)

The standard Army APFT is no biggie. However, in a competition against the best of the best, and you better be well above maxing even to be competitive.

Pre-dive inspections on a Combat Dive Competition participant.
A Combat Diving Supervisor conducts pre-dive inspections on a competitor. Photo Credit: Combat Diver Foundation

The Academic Exam is no easy feat. The U.S. Navy Diving Manual is almost 1,000-pages-long and covers a massive list of topics that include but are not limited to physics, underwater physiology, diving disorders, dive systems, and much more. So, the academic exam is not something to scoff at.

The Organizers Have Big Plans for the Competition

This was a 3rd SFG event, but there’s an aspiration to make this a Regimental event in the future. The idea is that it will grow into an Army Special Operations Force (ARSOF), Joint SOF, and eventually maybe an international SOF event.

It is noteworthy that 3rd SFG received, through the Combat Diver Foundation, about half a dozen requests of participation from credible former Combat Divers from all the services and one allied nation as well. Evidently, people were really excited about the event.

Combat Diver Competition
Combat Divers are tested on a variety of tasks. (Combat Diver Foundation)

When asked what is the plan for the competition and the Combat Diver Foundation’s future, President Lino Miani replied,

“To the extent that it’s appropriate to do so, the CDF is strongly in favor of helping the SOF community grow this event into an international Combat Diver competition. As you know, the winners will receive CDF Memberships — a small token of our community’s respect for their accomplishments.”

“We think this fits into a broader emphasis on the Combat Diver capability across the SOF enterprise. MG Brennan and GEN Clarke have been public about the importance of the capability in an era of great power competition and that’s evident as maritime operations are showing up increasingly in media coverage,” he added.

The Combat Diver Foundation

The Combat Diver Foundation’s aim is simple, “Preserve the history of the Combat Diver community.”

“Every class at the Special Forces Underwater Operations School creates a plaque. Most of these include historical photographs of all the members of that class. In many ways, this serves as a who’s who of U.S. and Allied Special Operations Forces. We intend to tell their stories,” the foundation says.

The foundation’s ultimate goal  is to have a museum that “will be a repository of the history and heritage of this elite class of warriors.”

Last year, SOFREP covered just how badass these men are.