On 18 February, Australian Clearance Diving Team Four’s Commanding Officer, LCDR Andrew Thomas and members of the unit assembled at HMAS Stirling to formally receive a souvenir poster from the WA DEFENCE REVIEW. The custom-designed poster acknowledges the unit’s contribution to the 2021-22 Annual Publication which featured one of its clearance divers on the front cover.
In accepting the poster, LCDR Thomas said, “We appreciate the help provided by WA DEFENCE REVIEW to communicate our commitment to delivering capability on behalf of the Royal Australian Navy and look forward to strengthening our relationship with WA DEFENCE REVIEW as a key media partner into the future.”
WA DEFENCE REVIEW Founder and Managing Editor, Serge DeSilva-Ranasinghe then commented that, “We are delighted to be able to present this souvenir poster to the navy’s AUSCDT FOUR in recognition of their generous assistance.” He also noted that, “We are very proud to be able showcase West Australian-based ADF units in our Annual Publication – in fact it is one of our key objectives. As we strengthen our relationship with AUSCDT FOUR, we look forward to providing ongoing coverage of the unit’s progress and developments.”
Acknowledging the strengthening relationship, the Navy Clearance Diver Trust’s Chair of Trustees, Denise Goldsworthy, affirmed: “Thanks to our partnership with WA DEFENCE REVIEW we have been able to reach industry partners and donors with our message, allowing us to support more clearance divers and their families when they fall upon hard times.” She added: “Most civilians have never heard of RAN clearance divers, which makes if difficult to operate a charity that provides support to this elite branch.”
AUSCDT FOUR is one of two commissioned Clearance Diving Teams in the navy. They are the specialist divers of the Australian Defence Force and operate in-service diving equipment to the maximum permissible depths, conduct explosive ordnance disposal, and are capable of locating, destroying or recovering underwater ordnance or maritime assets.
As the RAN’s history notes, between 1980 and 1985, AUSCDT FOUR provided personnel to the counter-terrorist squadron of the Special Air Service Regiment, and its personnel also formed the bulk of the specially formed Clearance Diving Team which served in the 1991 Gulf War. Members of the unit were also deployed to East Timor in 1999 as part of the INTERFET mission. In early December 2001, AUSCDT FOUR was formally commissioned as a navy unit.
AUSCDT FOUR includes three operational elements, specialising in tactical operations, mine countermeasures and battle damage repair. As the navy explains, “All elements are capable of performing explosives disposal and can be deployed independently or as a combined task unit. The Team operates specialised diving and explosive ordnance disposal equipment and can be deployed independently or as a combined task unit. Personnel are also trained in field craft and the use of a wide range of small arms, enabling them to deploy to remote operating areas under varying levels of threat.”
With the ongoing investment, modernisation and refurbishment of Defence units, capabilities and establishments in WA, the navy’s clearance divers are on the cusp of a new era of challenges and responsibilities.
WA DEFENCE REVIEW looks forward to bringing more attention to the vital role they play.