Photo By Lt. Jennifer Jewell | LCDR Nick Parker of the NEDU Reserve Detachment prepares to enter the water. He is tended by ND2 Aaron Young, also a member of the NEDU Reserve Detachment. U.S. Navy Photo by LT Jennifer Jewell. (Photo by Lt. Jennifer Jewell)
PANAMA CITY, FL – The Navy Experimental Diving Unit (NEDU) is joining forces with the NEDU Reserve Detachment to strengthen diver readiness and improve fleet support capabilities. For the last 12 years, the NEDU Reserve Detachment has been working under NOSC Chicago and providing long-distance support to NEDU. In August 2018, the NEDU Reserve Detachment detached from NOSC Chicago and relocated NOSC Pensacola, where they will be collocated with NEDU in Panama City, FL. The close proximity will allow for increased collaboration between the two units and will create a high velocity learning environment for Reservists and Active Duty to improve training and maximize knowledge sharing. Overall, this change will maximize NR NEDU’s ability to support NEDU, which in turn will allow NEDU to better execute their mission of supporting the U.S. Navy Diving Fleet through biomedical research and independent testing and evaluation of equipment and procedures.
The NEDU Reserve Detachment originally formed in Great Lakes, IL after the dissolution of the MDSU-1 and MDSU-2 reserve teams, providing an alternate drilling group for the former MDSU reservists. However, in recent years it became apparent that the Detachment was not being fully utilized in Great Lakes. NEDU Reserve Detachment OIC, LCDR Carly Keller, says the two commands’ leadership groups first discussed the idea seriously in early 2018. “The pros quickly outweighed the cons,” LCDR Keller says. “It was clear that more opportunities would be available to the reservists at NEDU versus drilling at a reserve center. It just made sense.” CDR Jay Young, NEDU Commanding Officer, agrees: “The Sailors assigned to our NEDU Reserve Detachment are always eager to support NEDU operations, but they have not had the opportunity to qualify on NEDU diving systems and expand their contribution level because of the unit’s remote location in Chicago. By relocating the Reserve Detachment to Florida, we have created an environment that provides each Reserve Sailor the opportunity to maximize support.” The move was finalized during the early summer and Reserve sailors officially began attending drills at NEDU in August 2018.
The NEDU Reserve Detachment is currently composed of 21 members, 15 of whom are qualified Navy divers. The current leadership team is composed of Commanding Officer LCDR Carly Keller, Senior Enlisted Leader NDCS Michael Ragsdale, and HMC Nicholas Mazmanian as Leading Chief Petty Officer. NEDU and NEDU NR expect the relocation to Panama City will positively affect the Reserve Detachment’s ability to grow in numbers by providing more opportunity to provide impactful support to the Fleet. The Reserve Detachment will also require fewer organic support staff members, which will allow for additional billets for divers and diving medical technicians, who will be able to provide direct valuable assistance to NEDU operations.
Both commands will benefit from the shift. NEDU will gain needed divers and watch standers to ease the heavy workload on the Active Duty sailors, while the Reserve Detachment will gain access to training and qualifications previously unavailable to them. In addition, Reservists will be able to participate in research at NEDU and work towards qualification on technical systems in NEDU’s Experimental Diving Facility and Ocean Simulation Facility. “Over the last two years, NEDU and the NEDU Reserve Detachment have forged a strong relationship and this relationship will strengthen with increased Reserve presence in Panama City. We look forward to leading our Reserve Sailors through the training and qualification process and leveraging their energy and expertise to effectively accomplish our mission.” says CDR Jay Young.