Army ASI 4W: Underwater Special Operations

In today’s post, I’d like to educate you on Army ASI 4W, Underwater Special Operations. I’ve done a series of posts on the different ASIs, with the goal of educating you on different career paths in the Army.

Why Does The Army Have Underwater Special Operations?

There can be many circumstances where Army personnel may need to work underwater. The Navy and Marines have their duties, and the Army cannot always call upon them to take care of certain tasks that can be handled with the right personnel.

There could be situations that involves removing mines that are underwater, attacking enemy positions via an underwater route, or even possibly retrieving equipment or supplies that are below water. Whatever the underwater situation, the Army has the manpower that can get the job done.

Who Can Gain The Additional Skill Identifier 4W?

As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, Army Officers all have primary Skill Identifiers. It can be a huge benefit to attain Additional Skill Identifiers. When it comes to the ASI 4W, it is known that nearly any Officer can request to take the training needed to gain the Underwater Special Operations ASI, but those with these Skill Identifiers have first priority:

  • 11 Infantry

  • 18 Special Forces

  • 60, 61, 62, and 65 which are all Medical Corps Skill Identifiers

What Are The Steps To Gain An ASI 4W?

If you desire to have the ASI 4W, you will have to complete Combat Diver Training, and become certified. Ultimately, you need the blessing of the Commanding General of the United States Army Special Operations Command to do so. At this time, the Commanding General is Lieutenant General Kenneth Tovo. You should follow these steps to do so:

  1. Fill out the application for the Commanding General. He will choose you if you can show that you have good odds of succeeding and will put the diving skills to good use.

  2. Complete DD form 2807 1 which is a report of medical history.

  3. Attain a medical examination and have DD form 2808 filled out.

  4. Complete and pass a pretest. It may help to practice. You will have to retrieve a 20 pound weight from 3 meters deep (almost 10 feet). Swim 500 meters (1,640 feet) with the breaststroke. Swim 25 meters (82 feet) underwater, and tread water with you hands and ears above the water surface for 2 minutes.

  5. Attend the Combat Diving Qualification Course. Their are 2 primary locations for this course, and they are Coronado, California and Key West, Florida, but there are several other approved schools too. The USASOC Commanding General’s office will specify your school’s location in your orders.

After completing all of that, you will receive Combat Diver certification. You will also be given the ASI 4W designation.

At that point, you may want to consider becoming a Combat Diving instructor. This is a good opportunity to help other Officers gain the ASI 4W. This website explains what an ASI 4W needs to do to become a Combat Dive Instructor.

What A Person Gains By Having A 4W ASI

There are many advantages of having underwater operations skills added to you Army portfolio. As the Army is always testing and trying new technologies, underwater is sure to be a location of great importance. Just as space is important, the vast extent of oceans, lakes and seas is always a probability of Army actions. If you have that skill, you will be a part of these operations.

Also, the after Army possibilities are endless. Simple recovery divers make large amounts of money. Training people how to dive can be quite lucrative. There are so many different possibilities for a person who has the underwater skills offered through Army training, that I could make a book with them all.

The Challenge Both Mentally and Physically

Before entering the training challenge of the Army’s Underwater Special Operations Course, you will want to be both mentally and physically fit. Many claim that the Combat Diving Course is one of the most difficult courses in the United States Army. You will have training in adapting to different underwater situations. One of the most trying is having both your feet and hands tied and learn how to properly take in the right amount of air when you reach the surface. While your limbs are tied, you will have to swim 100 yards, and also do flips underwater. And, this just a slight part of the training.

Physically, this type of training will make men weep, and mentally, some may want to go home to Mommy. But this is how the Army finds and keeps the best in underwater operations.

There Are Many Things That Need To Be Done Underwater

I have mainly talked about combat type of operations from divers, but there are many other jobs that need to be done too. There are engineers who are divers. There are divers who patch and fix marine vehicles. And, there are divers who retrieve equipment and supplies that are under water. There are divers who must survey and map waterways.

Final Thoughts

Having the 4W Additional Skill Identifier is a wise choice. If any of you reading this post have the ASI 4W, please tell us more. What did you have to endure to get that skill identifier? What types of diving operations have you performed?

To all who are Army Underwater Special Operations personnel, I want to give you a huge thank you for what you do. Many say that space is the final frontier, but we really have not explored the complete frontier under water.

If you have comments, suggestions or questions, you can post those below. And here are a few references for further reading.

Other posts you may enjoy:
  1. Army 92W MOS: Water Treatment Specialist
  2. Army 88K MOS: Watercraft Operator
  3. Camp Greene, North Carolina: Top 10 Cool Facts
  4. Army Combat Jump: 7 Amazing Facts
  5. Top 10 Biggest Military Battles in History
chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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