Combat Divers assigned to the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) conducted maritime training in Astoria, Oregon, Oct. 30, 2023. The Green Berets partnered with Coast Guard Air Station Astoria and Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment for multiple training events, preparing them for a two-week long scenario-based exercise.

The cold and swift currents of the Columbia River provided training sites not readily accessible in Colorado. The most challenging exercises were reserved for portions of the Columbia River Bar, known as the “Graveyard of the Pacific.” An area of towering waves, turbulent waters, and shifting sandbars creates one of the most dangerous bar crossings in the world, responsible for over 700 deaths. Waters fit to test the Army’s elite.

“This area creates some of the most challenging maritime conditions in the world,” said the Detachment Commander. “That’s the reason why the Coast Guard has their advanced helicopter rescue course, the national motorboat life skills course, for their 47-foot unsinkable boats; this is the waterway to prove that if you can execute proficiently here, you can perform anywhere.”

These Green Berets primarily conduct their training with the focus on special operations and deployments to Europe.

“Astoria’s hydrology looks very similar to Eastern Europe,” said the Detachment Commander. “It’s cold, visibility underwater is limited, high winds, extreme tides, and often in port cities challenging riverine conditions.”

The Army and Coast Guard have a relationship working with each other at the benefit of the United States. Coast Guard rescue swimmers provided these Green Berets tips and tricks on how to swim in the rough seas and water navigation techniques throughout the Pacific Northwest.

“We all have one goal and purpose, and that is to serve the American public, said Capt. Scott Jackson, the commanding officer for Coast Guard Air Station Astoria. “Training events like this exist because we have a history of partnering together, like we did with hurricane Katrina and Rita; we saved American lives working together.”

The three weeks in Astoria was a progressive training evolution. The operators started with the fundamentals of maritime proficiencies focused on team members who have not had recent exposure to combat diving.

“Institutional knowledge can be difficult to maintain,” said a Detachment Commander with the 10th SFG(A) combat dive team. “Doing these kinds of exercises creates a solid foundation that enables us to operate safely, effectively, and proficiently, in a manner interoperable with joint forces and NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) allies.”