The answer to OP's question is no; when I was attached to the Sub Base in New London, ( in 1954 ) sport SCUBA was still in it's infancy, and the only SCUBA used by the Navy was by the old "UDT" teams. I did do a little diving though;
Back then, the Navy had two main places to learn diving; Salvage Diving school at Bayonne, N.J., and 1st Class Diving School at Washington, DC However................
Any place there was a need for any underwater "drudgery", anyplace there were a few First Class or Master Divers, they could conduct a Second Class Diving School; at the time I was working in the ship fitter's shop on the Sub Base, a "need" arose, and I applied for, and took the Second Class course; I'll just say this......it's definitely NOTHING like sport diving; nothing what-so-ever; our head instructor was none other than the fabled Chief Mike Murphy; Mike Murphy held the record for the deepest hard-hat dive ever for many years, (which was set sometime during WW2, in the 1940's)
In those days, any mention of "SCUBA" diving would have drawn "looks" as if someone had referred to the deck as "the floor", to the bulkhead as the "wall", or the overhead as "the ceiling" ! In otherwords, it was a very "hard-ass" group, and when "in Rome" , you'd best "do as the Romans do"........or else ! All diving was done with what was affectionately known as "Hard Hat" and "Standard Navy Deep Sea Diving Dress"; why it was called a "dress" i have no idea, because it sure didn't look like any "dress" I've ever seen, and like everything else, best not get caught saying "suit", (which is what it was; a big, thick, heavy, stinky, always "leaky" SUIT.....( 'er...dress )
These things came in two models we were told; with one-piece, attached "3 finger "gloves", (which is all we ever saw in 2nd class course, and one with elastic ends on sleeves, (which we never ever got close to) They were only used by 1st Class divers in warmer water, and you could actually accomplish useful work with them.
Our "course" went like this; you sit on a small stool, 2 guys stick you in the "dress", which is only slightly "thinner" and more "plyable" than an old truck tire; after the "dress" is on, next are the "shoes"; each of which has a 5/8th to 3/4 inch thick lead soles, made from extremely heavy canvas, with thick copper toes, and each weigh like maybe 35 or 40 lbs; then the breast plate is "installed" ( big thick, heavy bronze "plate" which goes over shoulders, down over chest, with big hole for head to stick through, which has big heavy threads to which the :HAT is attached to, given 1/8 turn to engage threads; At this point, a decent NFL
line-backer would have a problem standing up for more that 6 seconds, (but we're not quite "dressed" yet; they still had to put the weght belt on; about a half ton of lead to make you "stay down";
next the ( I actually forget what they called the damned thing, but it's a big heavy valve body, with a hand wheel, attached to the front of the "dress" , and other end to hose and cable; O.K., we're ready to go; except you are still out of the water, and you have about 200 lbs of various "junk" weighing you down; the weight of the breast plate with "hat" attached is like having a VW
Beetle on your shoulders; ( I only weighed like 135 or so back then ) all you can think about is getting in the damned water and getting rid of all that weight; you have to walk a few feet, feeling like some bizarre creature in a "F' grade low buget movie; at this point, most are thinking, "what in the hell am I DOING HERE ? The you get in the "water";
I know, when you sport divers think of "water", youn think of this nice clear, transparent, easy to see through "liquid"; but YOU havent dove? dived? whatever.....in the River Thames ( which in the U.K. is caled "Tems", but which in New London, CT
. is called "Thames"......like "James" with no "th"; the water here is different; it's black; NOT transparent; it's 3-4 miles up-river from the salt water, so it don't taste salty; but it DOES stink; if you drink some, you'll probably die pretty quick; what's it like "down there"? Ever been to a big scrap yard where you take junk, old cars, old anything that's metal ? It's exactly like that, only with 20, 30 or 40 feet of yuccky black, muddy, oily, water over the whole works ! You get to the bottom, the air in the "dress" is now holding all the weight, and you are now in your "class room"; welcome to second class diving school ! By this time, you are becoming aware of why they call it "Second Class School (or Course); you really do feel 2nd class! So.......what are we going to do, now that we are here ? We are going to learn how to WORK ! Under water, in the dark, in the cold, in the wet, etc. Did I mention, 2nd class school is NOT fun; it is Not "cool"......it is COLD as hell, cause it's December, your in Conneticutt, wou're all wet, you're gonna stay all wet all day, and you're also on the bottom of the damned dirty, stinky , oily, Thames River, it's pitch black, and those fools "up there" expect for you to actually do something useful !
O.K......imagine a big square tank, maybe 6 ft high, 4 ft square, with a 2 ft square hole on one side, and a 2 ft round hole on the top; each "hole" has a 2 1/2 in wide flange around it, and a 3/4 inch hole every 8 or 9 inches; both holes have a "lid" bolted onto the hole, your going to remove all of the bolts, (being extremely carefull not to lose any of those bolts or nuts, because if you do, guess what ? Those sadists top-side are gonna make you crawl around on your belly in that muddy junk yard, in the pitch black, trying to "feel" around with your hands in those ridiculous two finger, one thumb "gloves" till you find every single one of those bolts, ..................wait a minute.........I'm getting ahead of myself here.......we just got the lids off, now, believe it or not, now you're gonna climb /float/ swim/ what ever, INTO the hole, into the tank, then you're gonna put all the bolts back in, ( with a guy outside to hold the bolt heads, and you're gonna end up, boltrd up insided of a damned tank, at the bottom of the river, in the dark ! What's that ? ya say you got claustrophobia, arachnophobia, hydrophobia, or any other kind of phobia ? My best advice.........better join the infantry;
they don't do crazy shit like this ! They already asked you if you had any "phobias", butv most people have no idea what they have (or don't have); but "they" sure know how to find out !
You spend a week or so taking things apart, putting them back together, etc.
Then comes the "fun part; this part will really determine if you have any "psychological" "qualms"; this week we learn to "tunnel" ! They have a great big tank, maybe 8 ft in dia. 10 or 15 ft long, on the bottom, in the mud; WAY in the mud; you are now going to crawl UNDER it ! A big 2 1/2 fire hose comes down; then a big heavy bonze "falcon nozzle" comes down on a rope; a falcon nozzle has a 2 inch hole face out, and a row of maybe 3/8 inch holes all around it facing rearward; you screw it on a 2 1/2 in fire hose, get a real good grip, give a coupls of jerks on the rope, and a guy "top-side" throws a ball valve, and suddenly you have 125 lbs of pressure on a 2 1/2 in stream of water coming down that hose ! The rear facing holes keeps the water going out the big hole from taking you across the river to the Coast Guard Academy on the other side; one type falcon also has a ball valve, so you can turn it on and off.
You get by the tank, point the nozzle down at the mud, and you can bore a hole 2, 3 ft wide, 10 or 15 ft deep in very short order; you then get in that hole, with the hose; keeping it pointed the way it needs to point; what usually happens next, is the hole gets too deep, it caves in, and you're now buried under 10 ft of mud, in the dark, at the bottom of the Thames River; this is when everyone learns who has those phobias I mentioned, and who doesn't; and it's really quite impossible to predict who will, and who won't. It's kinda like a roller coaster; some people think it's a lot of fun, some people get the shit scared out of them; personally, I thjought it was a blast ! I mean, all you gotta do, is point the nozzle up, the mud goes flying, you increase your air, the "dress" gets more air in it, and up you go, just like a cork! Being in a hard hat and dress is like being a mini submarine; that hand wheel by your waist turns the air up or down, and the round hand wheel on your exahaust valve on your "hat" lets more (or less ) air out. A blind person would have a big leg up learning to be a diver, because they already are used to what you're trying to get use to; ( I'm surprised they don't have any blind guys, but far as I know, I don't think they do.
If anyone saw that movie that Cuba Gooding and Robert DeNiro made about Carl Brashear, you'll know what I'm talking about; it was all Hollywood Hyped up as is always the case, but there was also a lot more accurate stuff in it than most people realize. And besside, I don't have much use for Hollywood in general, but I love Cuba Gooding ! One Cool cat in my book. Hard hat diving is hard, hard work; you're ALWAYS wet, you're always freezing, crawling around in junk on a river bottom in the dark is always a great way to get hurt, but in spite of all that, it's so damned "different", that it's kinda "fun" (once in a while) ( But it sure isn't anything like SCUBA) Something else SCUBA guys never have to do, far as I know, ( correct me if I'm wrong ) When we got qualified as 2nd class, we had to "get in the tank" once a month, to stay qualified; the re-compression tank we had was about 4, maybe 5 ft high inside, room for maybe 5 or 6 guys, they close it up, turn up the air, and we had to "go down" to 300 ft, stay for about 5 or 10 minutes, and come back up; you don't really go any place, it's just how much pressure you're subjected to; believe this........don't EVER get in the tank if you have a cold, or any blockages; you're in very deep doo doo if you do; most people have to hold their nose, and BLOW to equalize the pressure in your middle ear; some people can't do it at all; I'm lucky, I just open my mouth and kind "wiggle my ears" and my ears pop easy as that. It was very nice to have in the second class course.
Oh.........what kind of "creatures" are on the bottom of the Thames River ? every now and then, on a sunny day, and no one stirring up mud working on the submarines, we used to see an occasional little white starfish, maybe a craw-dad… ˜never saw a fish. Just a lot of junk. On one occasion, a submarine lost a screw; ( propeller to you infantry guys ) a screw on and old WW2 Fleet Type Boat is like maybe 4 ft in diameter, I forget how heavy, I'm guessing, maybe 15-18 hundred lbs; a dozen guys, crawling around 2 weeks, never could find the thing in the "junk yard". That's the reality of "work diving".
Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein