Army Scuba School: The Combat Diver Qualification Course

army scuba badge
This is the Army Scuba Badge

The Army Scuba School, also known as the Combat Diver Qualification Course is a school for the best of the best in the Army!  It’s a badge you won’t see very often in the Army Reserves or Army National Guard unless you are assigned to a Ranger or Special Forces unit.  During my 15+ years in the Army, I’ve only seen three Soldiers wearing the prestigious Army Scuba Badge (pictured to the right)!

In the paragraphs below, I want to share some information about the Army Scuba School, so you can have some basic knowledge about the course:

  • The school is seven weeks long; although it started out as a four week course
  • The school started in the mid to late 1960s
  • It’s also known as the Combat Diver Qualification Course
  • It’s said to be the most difficult Army School
  • The school is located at the JFK Special Warfare Center in Florida
  • 1 out of every 3 candidates fail the course
  • It’s open to Ranger qualified and Special Forces qualified NCOs
  • Students require a grade of 85% or higher to pass the course
  • One of the toughest parts of the school is the “drown proofing” where candidates arms and legs are bound together and they must perform a variety of tests
  • There is a rigorous pre-test that candidates must complete at their home station unit prior to even going to the school
  • Get more information about the Army Scuba School

Candidates who graduate the school and earn the Army Scuba Badge frequently work with the Special Forces and Navy Seals, whenever there is some type of underwater mission.

Army Scuba School Videos

I wanted to share a couple videos to give you a better idea about what the school is all about.  This first video shares some of the drills they do at the Combat Diver Qualfiication Course.

This second video shows a Special Forces Soldier using a Black Shadow 713.

Final Thoughts

In summary, if you are a member of the Rangers or Special Forces (or plan to be) you should highly consider attending the Army Scuba School at the JFK Special Warfare Center. This is a great school to develop and hone your diving and scuba skills. It’s also one of the toughest schools in the Army.

If you’ve ever attended the school yourself, I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment to share your story. If you have any questions we may be able to help you with about this course, just post those below too. Thank you.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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7 thoughts on “Army Scuba School: The Combat Diver Qualification Course”

  1. My buddy went to this school about four years ago and he told me it was even harder than Ranger School. I’ve watched a few of the YT videos for the school and it doesn’t look very easy, especially if you aren’t comfortable in the water.

    1. I read a couple of articles that use the word “grueling” to describe the school. It’s run by C Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Special Warfare Training Group, U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School. Drown proofing is apparently the toughest part. Drown proofing involves exercises such as being bound hand and foot in velcro straps and bobbing in 10 feet of water for five minutes. If soldiers break their straps or touch the sides of the pool, they fail. It is clear you must be in top shape to endure the physical demands of the course.

  2. I would love to attend the Army’s Scuba School. My hope is that after I graduate Ranger School I will be able to attend this one, too.

  3. My brother attended the Army Scuba School about five years ago, a few short months after completing Ranger School. He said that this was the toughest military school he ever went to.

    1. The Scuba School looks really tough. I’m not sure if I could pass the test where you tie your legs together and tie your hands behind your back and bob up and down all that time. I would probably drown.

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