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Please take a few minutes and read what this monument is all about and continuous updates all the way to the bottom of the page.
Former members of the Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit ONE Reserve Detachment 419, San Diego have been actively planning the creation of a monument at Miramar National Cemetery to honor all U.S. Navy Trained Divers. To support this cause and to be a part of this legacy, donate what you can. Once the monument is completed continued donations will benefit the Navy Diver Memorial education scholarship fund.
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Last updated 11/29/23 FMP
The Navy Diver monument would join nine other meaningful monuments at the Miramar National Cemetery.
Giving to this nonprofit organization is completely tax deductible, we appreciate any amount, $5, $10, $50, $100 or more, be a part of this legacy.
Members of the MDSU ONE Det 419 San Diego personally contributed ideas for the Memorial’s design and initial startup funding.
Mark your calendar for our future fundraising events
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STORIES FROM OUR NAVY DIVER MEMORIAL STAFF
I had the privilege of serving in the Navy for 30 years as a Navy Diving Officer with many amazing experiences, though some were not exactly in “Destination Resorts”. Many of the places we served had hazards of which we were unaware, and in recent years we’ve lost many of our shipmates, men and women alike. So, some of us got together to erect a memorial at Miramar National Cemetery in their Honor. It is being made, but it is not yet there. Perhaps you can consider helping with a tax-deductible contribution. DONATE
It is amazing when you think about how one becomes a Military Diver. I for one growing up watching shows like Marine Boy, Sea Hunt, Flipper, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, never missing an episode of Jacques Cousteau’s adventures and playing Water Polo and Swimming has inspired me to pursue and attend Navy Dive School in Little Creek, VA, of course the best dive school. Since leaving dive school with that HooYah! mentality, I have met some amazing divers from all career paths, worked on awesome dive jobs, seen incredible underwater sights and just living the dream. I had the privilege of knowing divers that were close to me and have since past away, Kathy Lynch, Teri Reese, Dan Jackson and Mark Lessman. These and other divers have made great contributions to military diving this is what keeps me working on the diver monument. Consider being a part of this legacy and donate what you can. DONATE
I was a Midshipman at the US Naval Academy and learned of Navy Diving in 1975. Having been a swimmer and water polo player, SCUBA guy, grown up on the beaches of Southern California, and a fan of Sea Hunt, when my Academy Pistol Team coach (Senior Chief EOD) suggested I go as a Diver, well, that seemed to be just the thing to do. I did 30 years and kept my dive quals up the whole time. Diving was great: Spending time looking at the bottom side of submarines; Helping to develop classified weapons and projects out at San Clemente Island; Wrestling with sharks and blowing things up underwater; Diving in chilly Korea, the beautiful waters of the Philippines, and lovely Hong Kong; and Working with motivated, intelligent, interesting people made my whole career great. If someone is going to be in the Navy, they should do something special — something so cool that every day becomes an adventure. Navy Diving was that for me! DONATE
I had the honor and privilege of working for the US Navy for over 40 years in the active duty Navy, Department of Defense and Navy Reserves with 25 of those years serving as a US Navy Diver. I feel blessed to have experienced the most amazing diving locations around the world and I always look back over those years with great pride and credit my father for his wise counsel, when I was 18 he said “ Son if you’re going to choose a job, choose one that you will enjoy, because you will be doing it for a long time”. I have never forgotten his words and never regretted my decision to be a US Navy Diver, it remains one of my greatest personal achievements and I can honestly say that I truly did enjoy my job. It was during those years of diving that I had the opportunity to work with some of the finest professional people in the world who at the same time laughed and enjoy life and the comradery of being part of a family of Navy divers who understood the challenges and hazards that each of us faced on a daily bases while working in a hostel underwater world where some have paid the ultimate price.
I take great pride in being part of this group of motivated individuals who are striving to leave a memorial to the past, present and future US Navy trained diving legacy. With the help of those who feel compelled to contribute to this cause, we THANK YOU and look forward to the day the memorial is placed at Miramar National cemetery. DONATE
As an eight year old boy Sea Hunt and Lloyd Bridges (I always thought his name was Mike Nelson) were my favorite. However, my desire to be a Navy Diver was motivated by the kind of sailors I knew that were already divers, and my respect and admiration for the kind of men they were; i.e. that’s what I want to aspire to be. Plus the second submarine I was attached to was having trouble getting volunteers to become scuba divers. So I raised my hand and started PT. Hoo Ya. DONATE
In my 25 year US Navy Career, 100% of every year, I had the privilege of being part of the Navy Diving Community requiring at least quarterly logged dives to all kinds of depths for all kinds of reasons. Although I retired as an SOC (SEAL Operator Chief), I also served as a Deep Sea hard-hat Diver and Diving Medical Technician (DMT). As the saying goes, we literally “dived the world over.” But none of us think to be more important than another. For as Navy Divers we are all “in the same body, with many members.” And not all of our members have the same diving function. “So we who are many are one body, and individually we are members one of another.” Amen and Hooyah. DONATE
US Navy Divers’ Monument History of Development
#1. 08/10/19, Everything starts as a dream. We were attending a funeral of a diver shipmate at Miramar National Cemetery about three years ago. The deceased had been a member of Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit ONE Reserve Detachment 419 San Diego. Although the unit was disbanded in 2007, many of the former members still stayed close. As we passed the three monuments that were at the cemetery (Navy Nurses, SEABEES, and Jewish Servicemen) one member said, “There should be a monument to Navy Divers here.”
That is how the idea came about. We soon learned that monuments do not grow out of the ground themselves. We learned that one must Make things happen… but being Navy Divers, we knew we could make anything happen.
#2. 08/12/19, The First Step was to learn the Rules. The Director of the cemetery handed over a copy of the VA instruction for donating a monument. There were size and cost restrictions, no names or weapons could be included, permissions to obtain, accounting of funds, the monument would have to be maintained by the group for 50 years, and so on. After a visit to a grave monument company for what materials and production might be, the stage was set. It appeared daunting. We proposed the idea to the DET 419 group for support of such an endeavor. Det 419 members were enthusiastic. That sparked the dream, transforming it into a Project.
#3. 10/15/20, Now a Project — the grand mountain to climb, the great tsunami to surf – the next step was to form a Non-Profit Organization – a 501.c.3. Not an easy task. It took nine months to obtain, but Det 419 now was in position to make the request to donate a monument to Miramar National Cemetery. But what would it look like? How could the group show honor to the Diving Community? What made a monument stand out and show proper homage? The group was lucky to have a member who had just created and placed a monument for SEALS, so we had his administrative experience. We planned to use the same stoneworking company in Ohio, where they laser-etch words and pictures into black granite (which would last between 400 to 600 years… probably long enough). But what should the monument look like?
#4. 04/16/21, A grand gathering of Det 419 members met in San Diego at a member’s home. After some informative and motivating presentations, a flood of ideas were offered. By email, members submitted design ideas. We agreed that we would look for the best possible design and then make it happen. A Design Team formed as eight members showed great interest. Eventually the Team selected the design, words to appear, and pictures to be etched. The dream was taking form.
#5. 01/15/22, Next came pricing and further liaison. The company that would make the monument accepted the plan and drew up concept drawings. A Jeweler agreed to make the larger than life Diving Pins. A foundation company accepted the job of making the base upon which the monument would be placed. The Team ensured each of these different company representatives spoke with the other to ensure the proper interfaces.
#6. 08/26/22, Then the moment came to submit the Request to Donate a Monument to the VA/Director of Miramar National Cemetery. The documents showed what the monument would look like, showed we were a non-profit, that we had designed a monument that was respectful, acceptable, and per the VA standards. There were more forms to fill out. Then more… Would we receive permission? Would they require changes? Would they reject us outright?
#7. 10/16/22, A concept drawing of the monument is currently under constructions.
#8. 11/22/22, Once the Design Team came up with an agreed upon design (months of effort, comparison, conversation, exchange, barter, and even reason), we drew up the Request to Donate a Monument to the VA/National Cemetery. Weeks passed, suspense thickened, and finally a response came back that our design was really great and the monument would be a credit to the Cemetery, however, it was too involved, too wordy, too……. Much. Being Deep Sea Divers and able to adapt, the Team met via emails and a “toned down” Memorial design was developed. We submitted it again, and now the VA is looking it over. Will they approve what we have now? Will the essence of Navy Diving be preserved? Big questions of life. With Christmas ’22 coming up, will the Det’s dream be bestowed? Stand by, Red Diver!
#9 06/15/23, Progress is being made for acceptance of the latest modified design. The Team submitted its third Request to Donate a Monument on 16 March, 2023, and after a month’s review in Washington DC, we received word from the Director of Miramar National Cemetery that it had cleared that site, and was now being forwarded to the Regional VA Office for review. This is an important step! In conversation with the owner of the stonework company in Ohio manufacturing our monument, he estimated that once we gave him the “Go” message, the monument would be finished and shipped, ready to be placed by the local company in Vista in three months.
#10 07/01/23, To help with further fundraising for the project, we would like to announce an Official Raffle! The first prize is a GLOCK 19 semiauto pistol with two mags and a case (California compliant). There will be other cool prizes as well. One raffle ticket is $20 and you may purchase Six tickets for only $100 (a bonus ticket!). The drawing will be at the Monument Celebration Gathering that will follow the placement of the monument. Winners of the First Prize must be 21 years old and be able to meet the requirements of ATF form 4473 (we will go through a local FFL dealer to transfer the weapon). If you do not meet one of those requirements but are drawn for First Prize, you will be able to select one of the other nice prizes.
Tickets are available in one of three ways:
Design Team Members and their immediate families may not participate in the raffle.
100% of all donations go to production and placement of the monument.
Raffle ticket price is not tax deductible (sorry), however all regular donations are tax deductible.
Remember how much Navy Diving has affected your life and career. How about a few tickets?
(Updated 08/30/23) Raffle Ticket sales will be coming to an end soon, please contact one of the Divers above for tickets, or email us and we can send tickets to you.
#11: 08/30/23, Life is full of excitement and challenges. Having passed through the Director of the Miramar National Cemetery with full support (review #4), our Request to Donate a Monument went up to the VA District Office in Oakland for its final review and acceptance (review #5). Except, although accepted as designed, the Director there decided that the VA in Washington DC needed a final approval as well. Why Not? Now, the Undersecretary of the VA must give his approval (review #6). We have no idea of the time period for this to happen, but we are looking for a positive result. As stated some time ago, monuments do not grow out of the ground by themselves, people must make them happen. We are Navy Divers and can do anything! Take a vent, Green Diver.
PS; We are narrowing down a date to for the Gun Raffle.
#12 11/26/23, The conversation with the Director of Cemeteries (Washington DC) went well. Three offices of the VA had reviewed our design and the DC said that our monument will be the finest of all the monuments (at its level – not in the level of 12-foot tall statues) at all the National Cemeteries. Being Request number six, he still had some toning down requirements… and a creative suggestion. After some reviews and redesigning by our monument team, we are about to send in Request number seven to the VA in Washington DC. Regarding the bronze diving pins on the monument, sadly our jeweler in Albuquerque has closed his business. However, we have found another jeweler artist in Wisconsin who is looking forward to making our pins. We are close!
*As a side note; this endeavor is years in the making. This team has been working diligently on every aspect. Those of you who have campaigned, donated, followed and supported in some way, this team appreciates your contribution to this cause. Another year will pass, and 2024 looks promising. The hopeful plan for next year is to have the gun raffle, get positive word back from the VA, finish details on the monument and place the monument at Miramar National Cemetery. Report back on station for updates.
Scroll down and see some of the pictures of the monument and divers posts.