Special Forces Staff Sgt. Paul Lincoln Olmstead died while undergoing training for the 5th Special Forces Maritime Assessment Course (MAC) which prepares Green Berets for the Combat Diver Qualification Course (CDQC). According to the Army report, SSGT Olmstead submerged during a surface swim at the Joe Swing Reservoir at Fort Campbell Kentucky on September 21.  SSgt Olmstead was conducting a surface swim when he apparently submerged and did not resurface.  Divers found and recovered his body the next day.

Olmstead joined the Utah National Guard in February 2016 and had been a Special Forces Engineer since 2019. Olmstead was assigned to Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group.

Speaking of the death of SSgt. Olmstead, Maj. Gen. Michael Turley, adjutant general of the Utah National Guard said, “While training accidents like this are rare, it is a reminder of the enormous sacrifices made by our service members and their families every day.”

Olmstead was just 29. He left behind a wife and two young children.

Paul Lincoln Olmstead Green Beret
Staff Sgt. Paul Lincoln Olmstead (Utah National Guard)

The death of SSgt. Olmstead during MAC follows the loss of SSgt. Micah E. Walker in July, who died during CDQC water training at Naval Station Key West. Walker was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group.

SSgt. Walker is survived by his wife and three children.

The Combat Diver Qualification Course (CDQC) is among the most physically demanding courses in the U.S. military. Its graduates represent a tiny fraction of Green Berets: There may only be one SF Combat Diver in an entire company of Green Berets.

The Maritime Assessment Course is the “pre-scuba” phase of the Combat Diver Qualification Course.  It’s meant to screen out those with substandard swimming skills and physical conditions that could prove serious problems during scuba training. It is also called the “pre-Combat Diver Qualification Course.”