NEWS | Aug. 30, 2018

Divers Conduct Bathymetric Surveys in the UAE

By Spc. Samuel Ladd U.S. Army Central

Preparation begins early as the Soldiers of the 74th Engineer Dive Detachment conduct forward observation and reconnaissance on multiple locations in the United Arab Emirates for the upcoming Logistics Over the Shore missions. Preparation primarily involved the selection of proposed locations and surveying the projected points for an accurate projection of the coastal seafloor for a Trident Pier.

Divers started early in the morning and worked until late in the evenings in order to catch the high tide, the ideal condition for hydrographic surveying. Every centimeter was measured in regards to the equipment, which needed to be precisely calibrated and set up in order to ensure an accurate product.

Although parts of the shoreline were rocky and dangerous for the equipment, and with replacements hours away if there were any available, the dive team still managed to accomplish the mission.

The hydrographic capabilities employed by the U.S. Army divers are one of the most valuable skill sets in the divers’ inventory. It presents an accurate depiction of the ocean floor for use by port officials as well as military and civilian vessel navigation. Also these capabilities can locate and highlight objects that range from the size of vehicles, all the way to small arms and minor obstacles.

The importance of this capability is imperative for operations such as LOTS because it allows the Army’s watercraft operators to effectively accomplish their mission by understanding what is under them.

All problems had to be solved on site, from vehicles getting stuck to adjusting and troubleshooting a new system. Adverse weather added to the challenges the divers of the 74th EDD faced, but they were able to overcome these obstacles and excelled under the added pressure of the unique operation.

“It was fun and just as exciting to be able to figure out our equipment and the environment, along with being able to see our results at the end of the day, that alone made it all worth it”, said U.S. Army Sgt. Daniel Byrd, a 2nd class diver assigned to the 74th EDD.

The job included four proposed sites, all on the coastal water around Abu Dhabi. Despite the shallow coastal waters, rocks and coral heads that littered some of the sites, making navigation around the position rather difficult, the Soldiers of the 74th EDD were able to quickly and efficiently survey the area safely with optimal results.

With this mission the 74th EDD provided vital reconnaissance to allow free and effective movement of troops and supplies over the shore, increasing the Army’s ability to accomplish its mission.