Active Duty Dives into Black Hawk

by Brigitte Rox, CCAD Public Affairs

A group of Active Duty master divers visit the Corpus Christi Army Depot

A group of Active Duty master divers visit the Corpus Christi Army Depot to test out their new dive system, the XLDS. By proving that the state-of-the-art diving system fits into a UH-60 Black Hawk, this new equipment is rapidly deployable worldwide. Photo by Kiana Allen. (RELEASED).

Corpus Christi, TX (February 16, 2012) – A group of Active Duty Master Divers needed Corpus Christi Army Depot’s help to overcome the final hurdle to modernize the way the military does dives, 16 February.

A new diving system called the Extreme Lightweight Dive System, also known as XLDS, is part of a larger modernization scuba system the military hopes to incorporate in their dives. According to Dive Lab, XLDS is a complete surface supplied diving system.

At a total of 87 pounds, the XLDS is affordable, lightweight and compact, making it easily deployable.

Sergeants First Class Tracy Bower and Thomas Kneipp, both Master Divers, developed the new equipment and brought it down to Corpus Christi to try it out.

“The XLDS is cutting edge technology,” said Sergeant First-Class Bower. “We can now move all over the world quickly.”

“This new equipment is for rapid deployment of divers,” said Staff Sergeant Shawn Dagley, 627 Engineering Dive-Readiness NCO. “This system is contained in pelican cases so two men can pick it up and move it. Everything is in an individual box so you can move the entire dive system to the place where you need to go.”

“Being able to put it in a Black Hawk makes us deployable anywhere in the world.”

CCAD’s Colonel Mike Kosalko, Deputy Director for Production Management, worked with George Kunkle, Flight Test Pilot, to secure a Black Hawk to meet the divers’ last-minute requirements.

Master divers dressed in fatigues and diving t-shirts took notes and made comments as they loaded the system of about a dozen large boxes and oxygen tanks into a UH-60 Black Hawk staged on the CCAD flightline.

“This is the final requirement before we start fielding the equipment all around the world” said Master Diver Thomas Kneipp.

“CCAD stepping up and allowing us to come out here and put [the system] in one of their Black Hawks is one of the best things that has happened for us,” said Staff Sergeant Dagley. “Being able to come here as a group really means a lot to the Active Duty and the National Guard.”
Master divers perform procurement, research and development to find the best equipment for the Active Duty in the National Guard units.

Up next, the Active Duty Master Divers will take the XLDS on an actual mission.

Depot employees were happy to accommodate Active Duty master divers
Corpus Christi Army Depot employees were happy to accommodate Active Duty master divers' needs to see if the new XLDS dive system fits into a UH-60 Black Hawk. Now, this system is ready to deploy worldwide at a moment's notice. Photo by Kiana Allen. (RELEASED)


Designated a Center of Industrial and Technical Excellence for rotary wing aircraft, Corpus Christi Army Depot ensures aviation readiness through overhaul, repair, modification, retrofit, testing, recapitalization, and modernization of helicopters, engines and components. This effort includes world-wide on-site field maintenance teams, analytical crash investigations and chemical material process facilities. CCAD serves as a depot training base for active duty Army, National Guard, and reserve units. CCAD, as South Texas' largest industrial employer, employs more than 5500 personnel and contractors providing an overall economic impact of more than $1.14 Billon to the local community.