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THE DIVING ENGINEERS

During the very early days of World War II, the Military recognized the need for specialized Engineer outfits that could repair damaged harbors so that large ships could dock and unload their much needed supplies. So in the spring of 1943 the U.S. Army Port Construction and Repair Groups were formed. Each group consisted of 255 enlisted men and 17 officers. Most of the men were already professionals in their line of work, but there was also a need for Salvage Divers and there was not many of these to be found. The Divers would have to be trained.

The first Army Divers were trained by the U.S. Navy at Pier 88, on the North River in New York City beside the berth where the former liner “Normandy” was laying on her side after burning and sinking. The school later moved to the New York Naval Shipyard in Bayonne, New Jersey.
The strenuous training took 14 weeks and consisted of underwater welding and burning, rigging, the use of pneumatic tools, and various other skills that would be invaluable to them in the months to come.

Upon graduation from the Navy School of Diving and Salvage as Navy certified Second Class Divers, these Army Divers were sent to Fort Screven, Ga. in 1943 where they established and operated the U.S. Army Engineers Diving and Salvage School under the command of A.L. Mercer, Capt. C.E.

The curriculum at this school was patterned after the Navy school but stressed underwater welding, burning, rigging, and added the underwater use of explosives for demolition.
There were 16 Divers assigned to each of the following units:

1051 Engineer Port Construction and Repair Group
1052 Engineer Port Construction and Repair Group
1053 Engineer Port Construction and Repair Group
1054 Engineer Port Construction and Repair Group
1055 Engineer Port Construction and Repair Group
1056 Engineer Port Construction and Repair Group
1057 Engineer Port Construction and Repair Group
1058 Engineer Port Construction and Repair Group
1059 Engineer Port Construction and Repair Group
1060 Engineer Port Construction and Repair Group
1061 Engineer Port Construction and Repair Group


DIVING MANUALS FROM THE PAST
(CLICK ON A MANUAL TO SEE THE COVER)

1943 Army Dive Manual
First Chapter and Table of Contents for others
Donated by Mr. William Watts

1944 Army Dive Manual
Donated by Mr. Bill Duncan

1970 Army Dive Manual
Donated by Mr. Jim Heimbach

1974 Army Dive Manual Volume 1
Donated by Mr. Bill McFarlane

1974 Army Dive Manual Volume 2
Donated by Mr. Bill McFarlane

1978 Army Dive Manual Volume 1
Donated by Mr. Jim Heimbach

1978 Army Dive Manual Volume 2
Donated by Mr. Jim Heimbach

1988 Army Dive Manual
Donated by Mr. Jim Heimbach

 


 

Bob McDevitt

Click on the photo above to

meet Bob McDevitt as he

starred in the 1950's

 "The Big Picture" featuring

  Army Diving.


 

John Geis


 

Julius Green

 

Chief Warrant Officer 3 and Army Master Diver
Julius Green

Click the image above to meet Mr. Green