Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit One celebrates 46th birthday

Chief Logistics Specialist Joel Daza and Hull Maintenance Technician Fireman Daniel Allred, the second oldest and second youngest Sailors at MDSU-1, respectively, cut the cake showing the HCU One and MDSU-1 logos side-by-side during the command's 46th birthday celebration. NECC Commander Rear Adm. Michael Tillotson (second from right) and MDSU-1's executive officer, Lt. Cmdr. Robert J. Wheat (far right), applaud along with the crowd.

Story and photo by Lt. Anna Choe

Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit One Public Affairs

Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit One (MDSU-1) celebrated its 46th birthday on Jan. 31, one day early. Special guests in attendance were some of the executive leadership from MDSU-1’s type commander, the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC).

Lt. Cmdr. Robert J. Wheat, MDSU-1 executive officer, opened the ceremony by reading an excerpt written by former diving community manager Navy Diver Master Chief Dave Gove about the origin of MDSU-1:

“This day in diving history 01 February 1966.

Harbor Clearance Unit (HCU) One established at Subic Bay, Philippines. The establishment of HCU One was authorized by the Secretary of the Navy to fill the need for harbor clearance of any waterway or port in Vietnam. While the idea of a harbor clearance team harkened back to successful clearance operations by various units in WWII, this new operational concept represented an elemental change in Navy salvage.

“The missions of HCU One in Vietnam would call for committing small and highly mobile teams of well-qualified salvage specialists to a job rather than relying on large salvage ships. The original crew of HCU One consisted of a hand-picked cadre of five officers and 65 enlisted men. The unit’s headquarters started out as a barge specifically converted to a salvage tender that was outfitted with all the shop facilities, storage and accommodations necessary to support various salvage operations. The team would later acquire adequate medical, office and armory facilities.

“HCU One grew in men and equipment during its years of existence and amassed a record of success. During its tenure in the Philippines, the unit was awarded two Navy Unit Commendations, a Meritorious Unit Commendation and a Vietnamese Unit Cross of Gallantry. Eventually, HCU One would move its homeport to Hawaii and later be renamed Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit One.”

MDSU-1 Sailors took a break in their daily operations and preparations for upcoming inspections to celebrate the historic day. Those in attendance included Rear Adm. Michael Tillotson, commander of Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, Force Master Chief Farris Foresman and Lt. Tyler Smith, the admiral’s aide, from the NECC. The day’s festivities started with a lunch barbecue sponsored by the MDSU-1 Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) committee led by Electronics Technician 1st Class Matthew Zilvar, the MWR president.

Wheat also thanked the Sailors for their continued good work, and the admiral echoed his sentiments. The second oldest and second youngest Sailors participated in the cake-cutting ceremony. Although traditionally the cake is cut by the oldest and youngest Sailor at the command, they were unavailable. Navy Diver 3rd Class Robert Glennon was at sea working on a salvage job similar to one done in HCU One’s early history in Vietnam.

Senior Chief Navy Diver (MDV) Ted Walker was on post-deployment leave after returning from a sixmonth Central Command (CENTCOM) deployment in Bahrain.

In their places, the second youngest and second oldest MDSU-1 Sailors, Hull Maintenance Technician Fireman Daniel Allred and Chief Logistics Specialist Joel Daza, cut the cake.

Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit One’s current Command Master Chief Clifford Morin wrote, “To learn our history and our heritage connects us with the Sailors that have gone before us and allows us to build upon their service and sacrifice so we may represent that fighting spirit and honor their contribution with a deeper knowledge of the legacy we represent.”

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Category: News