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Sailor Photographer Dives Into SCUBA Cert

by Naval Special Warfare Command Public Affairs
18 November 2019

Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alexander Perlman recently earned SCUBA diver qualification and the Navy SCUBA Diver pin during a graduation ceremony at the Navy Diving and Salvage Training Center, Panama City, Florida.

Perlman, assigned to Naval Special Warfare Command, completed the SCUBA class as part of his endeavor to become an underwater photographer for the Navy.

"Underwater photographers provide a very unique force multiplier to our underwater operations," said Master Chief Navy Diver Mike Shields, NSW Group TWO Master Diver.

"They have the capability to dive and photograph underwater operations that would otherwise go undocumented. This visual feedback is valuable and gives us the opportunity to see the challenges and successes members of the special operations community meet while operating in an austere environment. We can take that information and make changes to improve everything from gear to tactical techniques and procedures."

Perlman attended the Navy’s 33-day SCUBA Diver course, which trains non-diving personnel to safely and effectively perform as a dive-team member and SCUBA diver. The instruction includes CPR, basic diving physics and charting, basic diving medicine, SCUBA operations and underwater searching operations.

With the  disestablishment of Navy Combat Camera commands in 2018, there is a targeted effort within the Navy to reconstitute and task organize high-end operational documentation capability across warfare domains to provide better support to operational commanders at all levels.

“The training and qualification that Perlman received and earned goes well beyond the NSW community,” said Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Navy’s Chief of Information (CHINFO) Master Chief Mass Communication Specialist Mike Lewis. “Our ability to capture, edit and rapidly transmit imagery in training and operational settings is absolutely critical to the Navy’s ability to engage effectively in the information environment in an era of great power competition. This is just one example of where we are investing in our cadre of mass communication specialists to support commanders’ requirements Fleet-wide.”

With additional training at NSW, Perlman will learn how to operate and manage underwater camera gear and equipment to include lighting systems, cameras and specialized housings. These skills will enable Perlman to capture underwater photos and video of various NSW mission sets for training and archive purposes.

Commands, mass communication specialists and other Sailors interested in developing underwater visual information capabilities or attaining the SCUBA Diver Navy Enlisted Classification (NEC) should refer to MILPERSMAN 1220-410. They can also email Chief Mass Communication Specialist Gary Keen from Navy Public Affairs Support Element (NPASE) East at


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