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Around The Fleet

Navy Divers Salvage F/A-18

The aircraft was lost at sea due to mechanical failure.

Navy divers and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) technicians assigned to Commander, Task Group (CTG) 56.1 salvaged an F/A-18 Super Hornet aircraft from the sea floor in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations, July 22, 2015.


"This F/A-18 that sunk went down ... not due to the pilot ... there was a problem with one of the engines," said Navy Diver 1st Class Brandon Wiggins, assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Expeditionary Support Unit ONE. "So salvaging this, they're going to be able to get an inspection on the engine that failed."

The size of the wreckage and the fact that it lay in a depth of 189 feet of seawater made the mission a unique challenge.

"I've been in the Navy for about 17 years and this is the first time that I've actually had the opportunity of doing something this big," said Senior Chief Navy Diver Dalbert Rivera, assigned to Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit ONE (MDSU). "[We got to] go deep, push the limits, and show the Navy that this is what we train for. We're trained professionals so we can do absolutely everything that we're taught in dive school."

Navy divers and EOD personnel from various commands came together to complete the mission.

I've been in the Navy for about 17 years and this is the first time that I've actually had the opportunity of doing something this big


"We have EOD guys here giving us support. We have people from San Diego and from Hawaii," said Rivera. "Everyone's pulling together and we're doing a very good job."

  • Navy Divers and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technicians successfully salvage an F/A-18 Super Hornet lost at sea.

    Navy Divers and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technicians, assigned to Commander, Task Group (CTG) 56.1, successfully salvage an F/A-18 Super Hornet lost at sea aboard USNS Catawba (T-ATF 168). CTG 56.1 conducts expeditionary explosive ordnance disposal, mobile salvage diving and force protection operations throughout the 5th Fleet area of operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Arthurgwain L. Marquez/Released)

  • Navy Diver 2nd Class Levins and Navy Diver 1st Class Wiggins prepare to enter the sea to recover an F/A-18 Super Hornet.

    ARABIAN GULF (July 21, 2015) Navy Diver 2nd Class Ryan Levins and Navy Diver 1st Class Brandon Wiggins, assigned to Commander, Task Group (CTG) 56.1, prepare to enter the water for a salvage diving operation off the coast of Bahrain to recover an F/A-18 Super Hornet lost at sea. CTG 56.1 conducts expeditionary explosive ordnance disposal, mobile salvage diving and force protection operations throughout the 5th Fleet area of operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Arthurgwain L. Marquez/Released)

  • Navy Divers and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technicians successfully salvage an F/A-18 Super Hornet lost at sea.

    ARABIAN GULF (July 22, 2015) Navy Divers and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technicians, assigned to Commander, Task Group (CTG) 56.1, work together to salvage an F/A-18 Super Hornet lost at sea aboard USNS Catawba (T-ATF 168). CTG 56.1 conducts expeditionary explosive ordnance disposal, mobile salvage diving and force protection operations throughout the 5th Fleet area of operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Arthurgwain L. Marquez/Released)

  • Senior Chief Navy Diver Dalbert Rivera leads the salvage an F/A-18 Super Hornet lost at sea.

    150722-N-CW570-1451 ARABIAN GULF (July 22, 2015) Senior Chief Navy Diver Dalbert Rivera, of Arecibo, Perto Rico, Master Diver of Mobile Diving Salvage Unit One, Company 1-3, leads Navy Divers and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technicians, assigned to Commander, Task Group (CTG) 56.1, in the successful salvage an F/A-18 Super Hornet lost at sea aboard USNS Catawba (T-ATF 168). CTG 56.1 conducts expeditionary explosive ordnance disposal, mobile salvage diving and force protection operations throughout the 5th Fleet area of operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Arthurgwain L. Marquez/Released)



CTG 56.1 conducts mine countermeasures, explosive ordnance disposal, salvage-diving, and force protection throughout the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.