Bravery, courage, pain tolerance, and even brute force are some of the skills we usually associate with military operations. In the minds of most civilians, troops are similar to superheroes or “strongmen” who fear no enemy and can take down any “bad guy” that crosses their path. These attributes are certainly important to succeed as an individual and, more importantly, as a unit in most operations. Nevertheless, for combat divers and drone pilots, there are other important elements needed. 

Psychological factors such as determination, calmness under pressure, and surgical precision in handling delicate artifacts under spatial and temporal restrictions are some of the most important traits combat divers and drone pilots must possess. 

Combat Divers

Water has long been an essential element of warfare. Underwater combat, however, did not become prominent until submarines emerged in the early 20th century. 

The psychological aspect of underwater combat is where combat diver instructors and professionals pay the most attention. Combat divers become the ultimate warriors, capable of controlling their minds and fears to such an extent that they are virtually impossible to intimidate. 

“The main reason combat diver qualification is so tough is when you take a human being, a common air-breather, put him under the water, and take away his source of air. It can make the biggest, meanest, baddest human being become very weak, panic-stricken. It drains the will to survive. We’re looking for people who can overcome those pitfalls and remain confident,” says Sgt. 1st Class Benjamin Tabberer, a Combat Diver Qualification Course (CDQC) instructor. 

A short video of an inside look at the Army Special Forces Underwater Operations (SFUWO) School at Key West, FL. is almost enough to grasp this extreme anguish that trainees experience during the CDQC in order to be fully prepared for combat. 

“You have to remain calm, I think that’s the biggest goal here for us as students, is to learn how to remain calm under situations that you don’t think you’re going to make it out of,” says Sgt. Blake Gorey, an SFUWO student.