Special Tactics Airman Dies During Combat Dive Training

Students at Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center conduct training operations.
Students at Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center (NDSTC) conduct training operations in the center's 40-foot-deep Aquatic Training Facility. (U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael Scichilone)

A Special Tactics airman died while participating in the Air Force Combat Dive Course at the Naval Support Activity Center in Panama City, Florida, the 24th Special Operations Wing announced Friday.

The airman, whose name has been withheld pending notification of next of kin, was participating in the dive course Thursday and went missing around 11 a.m. The airman was found dead around 4:30 p.m., the 24th said in a release.

The airman was a combat controller assigned to the 24th SOW at Hurlburt Field, Florida, the release states. The dive course is run by Air Education and Training Command's Special Warfare Training Wing, headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.

The Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center, U.S. Coast Guard and the Bay County Sheriff's Office immediately responded for a search-and-rescue attempt, officials said.

"The Air Force is actively investigating the circumstances surrounding this incident," the release states. "To protect the integrity of the investigation, no additional details will be released until further notice."

Related: Special Forces Candidate Dies at Fort Bragg

According to the Air Force, the center trains personnel from all military service branches; pararescue and combat controller trainees attend the dive course for 30 days.

"Upon completion of this course, they will be recognized as Special Operations Command combat divers," according to an Air Force release. "This means they can be attached to any team in the U.S. military and assist in combat and austere diving missions. This training is integral to maintaining the combat controller and pararescue skill sets."

-- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.

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