People generally associate the Army with land and the Navy with the sea, but did you know the Army has its own dive team?
Most new recruits do not realize that Army Divers (MOS 12D) exist as a Military Occupational Specialty (MOS).
An Army Diver does underwater reconnaissance, demolition, and salvage for the military branch.
Learn more details about Army Diver (MOS 12D), including required training and education.
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Education, Qualifications,Training, and Duty Stations
Every Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) in the Army has its own education, prerequisites, and training requirements.
The same is true of an Army Diver (MOS 12D), even if the Military Occupational Specialty is unconventional in the military branch.
Here are the requirements you need to meet to become MOS 12D:
Related Article – Army Combat Engineer (MOS 12B): Career Details
The U.S. Army expects all new recruits to have a high school diploma or GED equivalent.
Furthermore, you need to test for the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB).
The ASVAB is a series of tests that determine your strengths and weaknesses, therefore indicating which Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) are appropriate based on your knowledge and skills.
To qualify as MOS 12D – Army Diver, you have two options on the ASVAB:
- Score Skilled Technical (ST): 106 or higher.
- Score General Maintenance (GM) 98 and General Technical (GT): 107 or higher.
Do you have more questions about the ASVAB?
A local Army recruiter can fill you in on details and good advice to prepare for passing the ASVAB.
The Army does not post a ton of information about Army Diver (MOS 12D) because it is not considered a primary MOS or very well known.
Surprisingly, there aren’t many qualifications compared to other Army jobs yet since the opportunities to join MOS 12D are limited, competition is stiff.
A prospective Army MOS 12D needs to meet basic requirements like being a citizen of the United States and having a clean criminal history.
There are also expectations to meet Army physical fitness standards since the military specialty requires a great deal of physical exertion.
The Army recommends that aspiring MOS 12D have an interest in mechanics and building things.
An interest in underwater diving, the ability to stay calm under stress, and demonstrating a high degree of self-reliance are also valued for MOS 12D.
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Army recruits begin training at Basic Combat Training, or boot camp, for 10 weeks regardless of intended MOS.
Basic Combat Training introduces you to the military lifestyle and determines if you have what it takes to make it in the Army.
Following Basic Combat Training, you progress to advanced training related to your Military Occupational Specialty (MOS).
Army Divers (MOS 12D) have extensive advanced training which takes 29 weeks to complete.
Advanced Individual Training for MOS 12D is a combination of classroom studies and underwater exercises.
You will learn the principles of scuba and surface-supplied diving along with underwater welding and cutting.
The Army teaches divers how to use and care for hand and power tools as well as maintaining diving equipment.
Lastly, the Army introduces divers to handling and implementing underwater explosives.
Those serving in the Army in MOS 12D can expect to be potentially based at one of the following duty stations:
Inside the Continental US (CONUS)
- Fort Eustis, VA
Outside the Continental US (OCONUS)
- USAG Hawaii
What does an Army Diver Do?
An Army Diver (MOS 12D) is a unique Military Occupational Specialty in a branch of the military that normally deals with land operations.
Divers perform duties like underwater reconnaissance, demolition, and salvage.
Army Divers specialize in either scuba diving or deep-sea diving.
Scuba divers handle exercises that are performed below the surface of the water at shallow depths.
Meanwhile, as the name implies, deep-sea divers spend a longer period of time underwater and may reach depths of nearly 200 feet!
Regardless of which type of diver you become, the general duties revolve around maintaining and repairing equipment related to submarines and rescue operations.
MOS 12D Divers are considered part of the Army Engineers Division which means most of the work is related to underwater construction and repairs.
Divers frequently service parts of submarines including propellers and hulls.
There is also a need for assisting with the underwater construction of piers and harbor facilities.
Secondly, an Army Diver may support special warfare and explosive ordnance disposal troops by using diving gear.
The job duties may include surveying rivers, harbors, and beaches for hidden obstacles below the surface of the water.
Finally, soldiers may patrol the waters for security or salvage sunken equipment.
Part of their duties involves repairing underwater ship structures, such as submarine propellers and hulls. The ability to use SCUBA gear is obviously crucial to this job.
Related Article – Army Geospatial Engineer (MOS 12Y): Career Details
What does an Army Diver make?
Despite being a rare specialty of the Army, divers are not paid any differently compared to other Military Occupational Specialities.
The Army keeps things fair by determining compensation based on years of service and military rank.
|Minimum Monthly Pay
|E-1 +4 months
|Private Second Class
|Private First Class
|Sergeant First Class
|Command Sergeant Major
|Sergeant Major of the Army
However, with that being said, it is possible to receive up to $40,000 in cash bonuses for enlisting in certain Army MOS.
Military jobs that are in high demand or considered dangerous, like deep-sea diving, may potentially entitle you to a bonus.
You can speak to a local Army recruiter for more details about cash bonuses.
The U.S. Army offers a very good benefits package to its service members:
- Medical Insurance
- Affordable Life Insurance
- Vacation Time
- Special Pay
- Housing: Allowances for living expenses, utilities, and maintenance.
- Food: Allowance for the on-base dining hall and access to tax-free department and grocery stores.
- Education: Soldiers can earn full tuition, merit-based scholarships, allowances for books and fees, plus an annual stipend for living expenses.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to find job reviews specific to Army Diver (MOS 12D) online.
However, numerous job reviews related to serving the Army, in general, are found on websites like GlassDoor.com and Indeed.com:
One major advantage of joining the Army as a Diver (MOS 12D) is the opportunity to do something rare and difficult to receive training for outside of the military.
The experiences during your military career and the places you visit can create lasting memories.
You should also consider the advantages when it comes to health insurance, education, and other benefits included with your monthly salary.
Related Article – Army Respiratory Specialist (MOS 68V): Career Details
Civilian Job Opportunities
There are not many jobs in the civilian world that have to do with SCUBA diving.
However, it is possible to make a living serving as a SCUBA instructor or guide at places like beach resorts.
Most former MOS 12D leave the industry yet continue to work in something related to construction.
Remember, an Army Diver (MOS 12D), is first and foremost a construction job (albeit an unconventional one), so construction is a very relevant job field.
Army Divers (MOS 12D) have a thrilling yet unconventional Military Occupational Specialty in the Army.
While the team is not huge, and there is some competition to become an Army Diver, it is worth considering.
The Army Engineer military job presents you with the unique opportunity to maintain and repair parts of a submarine and other underwater activities.
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