An Inside Look into NSA-PC Pt 2: Dive School

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PANAMA CITY BEACH The dive school at the Naval Support Activity Panama City is well known outside of our area.

It's the Department of Defense's largest dive school in the country, training members of all five military branches.

Base officials took NewsChannel 7's Sanika Dange behind the scenes of this incredible dive school and showed her how they train.

The divers you see in this video are 40 feet under water, in a pool filled with a million gallons of water.

The pressure at that depth is enough to scare most of us away from attempting that dive, but these men and women consider it a second home.

Navy Diving Salvage Training Center Commanding Officer Hung Cao says, "Diving really is an intricate part of our military mission. 70% of the world is covered in water and as we shift from landlocked wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to a more Asia Pacific region, that region is mainly full of water."

Divers are taught a variety of skills including welding, underwater demolition, search techniques, and special operation techniques.

In fact, the facility contains 23 certified diving systems.

The next largest facility has 6.

That's why all five military branches send their divers here.

The Navy sends their EOD explosive team, fleet divers, and underwater construction team here.

The Army send their Army Corps of Engineers.

The Coast Guard's deep sea diver's, the pararescue and combat controllers from the Airforce, and reconn divers from the Marines.

Cao says, "We understand how much Panama City embraces the military here. I mean, I've never been in another city that really takes in the military the way they do."

The dive school's 235 staff members help conduct 17,000 dives each year.

That's about 20% of the military's total dives.

With a responsibility that big, divers here are worked hard.

Cao explains, "They start their physical training here at 6:30 and that's about an hour to an hour and a half with all stretching and cool down and everything else, lasts about an hour and a half. And then they shower up and they get in classrooms and they start learning. Some will be in classrooms and some will be in what we call labs."

On any given hour of any given day, the Dive school conducts 8 different dives at the same time.

Don't miss part three of this series into NSA-PC on Wednesday, July 30, only on NewsChannel 7 at 10 o'clock.