We are often asked why to take on so many problems that are meant to be solved by authorities? Maybe it is time to stop raising funds and make the authorized state institutions work properly? You see, dear friends, we can answer both yes and no to this. We’re going to continue with consolidation of efforts and help where it is necessary, where the problems require an immediate solution and participation of everyone able to help. Still from now on People’s Project gets involved in a global process.
In the spring of 2014, Russia occupied the Crimea. Along with the Ukrainian lands, the occupiers also grabbed our military facilities where military diving professionals were trained. So all facilities and material resources as well as certain part of officer corps who had violated their oath, remained on the Crime’s occupied territory. And Ukraine found itself with a limited number of qualified specialists and actually deprived of further possibility to train them properly. Until today, we could only rely upon the School in Kamyanets-Podilskyi, it is the Mine Clearance Center of the Main Department of Operational Support of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The peculiarity of the Center is their huge experience and powerful capability for training mine action divers, so they produce truly high-class professionals. Since 2014, they have been carrying the burden of war on their shoulders, but to satisfy the Army and Navy’s needs and not to overload the only diving school in Ukraine, we actually need considerably more resources. From now on, the two schools will harmonically join into a common system within which professionals in all necessary fields will be prepared.
In October 2019, in Odesa, a separate Diving School has been opened on the basis of the Navy of Ukraine. The School is designed to prepare military divers and Naval diving professionals. The divers will be trained for both the Navy and the Army: their specialties will vary from SpecOps officers to sappers, reconnaissance and sabotage groups, and even paratroopers as well as search and rescue professionals and law enforcement officers. In every field where staff divers are needed, these will be trained here.
It was truly kind of our old friends and partners to let us join in the project and support re-emergence of the Diving school at the national level. The School of Military Divers is a volunteer association of enthusiasts, military divers sharing the common idea of restoration of the submarine force of Ukraine. Previously, the participants of the volunteer initiative supported and trained only individual units and specialists, and now the School of Military Divers coaches are among the founders of the Navy Diving School: its mission is to train not only qualified individuals but also those able to share their practical experience and train their colleagues.
The School of Military Divers specialists have developed and approved a comprehensive course on professional training; thanks to their practical knowledge, they also participate in purchasing the equipment of appropriate quality (combined with reasonable price); as coaches, they take active part in day-to-day training of the newly established School’s recruits (note that they perform their duties at their own expense). Importantly, the divers training program developed with participation of the School of Military Divers’ volunteers, has integrated the decades-long practical experience gained by foreign military divers, which makes our prospective submarine fleet closer to high NATO standards.
The man on whose personal enthusiasm the whole undertaking hinges. Mr. Kostyantyn Myrhorodskyi, the School of Military Divers co-founder
By the way, about the Brits: their Royal Navy officers have already met the School of Military Divers staff; they thoroughly examined the theoretical and practical side of the matter and now are going to actively enter the process of training the Ukrainian professional divers.
So far, the resources of the newly established School do not allow to work at full capacity. According to the schedule, the School is to train as many as 60 students a year. Still, at the moment only the first group of 12 recruits have been taking their first eight-week course of active training. It is this group that serves the “test ground” for co-ordination of practical interaction between the recruits, the School staff, the Navy and the volunteers.
At the moment, the recruits have been taking a course in active practical training. At the initial stage, it was a few contributors who provided them with relevant equipment: in particular, the supporting hand was given by Mr. Serhii Prytula and some foreign friends of the Ukrainian Navy. A part of the gear was supplied at the expense of the Navy itself, and certain part of equipment was provided by People’s Project, step by step, in the course of the School of Military Divers’s development.
One of the practical training stages was open to the press: lately, on completion of the theoretical course, the group’s practical training on open water, in the Military haven of the Odesa sea port has taken place. By the way, most of the photos illustrating this article, were taken at that very training.
The students trained both submersion techniques and the elements of underwater installation works. The group of divers carried out training dives in up-to-date swimsuits which enable submariners to work under water for quite long periods of time with no risk of getting hypothermia despite cold temperatures of the water. One of the divers was less lucky as he had to dive in an outdated heavy and cumbersome suit. Well, shortly the divers are to switch both their suits and their roles: each of them has to acquire the entire range of professional skills. The swimsuits they’re wearing were bought at the expense of funds raised by volunteers. If it wasn’t for them, no one knows what would they have to wear while training and working.
What was next? The goals of the training included both accumulation of practical knowledge by the coaching staff and mastering of their practical skills by the recruits. This is where our friends have shown quite impressive results; we believe that the proficiency of the instructors of the School of Military Divers, along with their enthusiasm and willingness to help will serve Ukraine for many more consecutive years.
Dear friends, what is our role, you may ask? Where is the point of intervention for us to make our own affordable input into this vital and at the same time magnificent undertaking? Let’s examine what our role in it can be. We need to consider this matter with certain share of understanding though. As the School has still being in its initial stage of development, not everything works perfectly in practice so far. Sometimes we face the situations when certain force-majeure emerges, be it the lack of necessary equipment, insurmountable odds or the circumstances that require non-standard solutions.
Sometimes it is necessary to buy certain equipment, the other day – to rent out a room or a pool for the recruits’ training. Right, as experience has shown many times, this also happens. Soon, we will need to take care of the boat which contributors provided for the needs of the Forces of Special Operations diving unit. Major part of the equipment necessary for its repair has been funded by volunteers at their own expense, while our task here will be to assist them with the associated current expenditures, for the boat to get deployed in patrolling as soon as possible. By the way, the amount to be accumulated for this purpose, is rather small and could be raised in one day. As our experience shows, we can easily cope with even harder tasks.
To ensure the continuity of our military divers’ training process, not to let minor stuff like this prevent the strengthening of our Navy, to forge our common victory in this war together, and, finally, to secure our very existence as a state, we decided to reopen the School of Military Divers project and go on with fundraising within this initiative.
Naturally, as usual, we guarantee you the absolutely transparency in our reports: these are always accessible in the description of each project. We also guarantee the 100% targeted use of the money collected: we never take any interest or gain any profits in our favour, and the volunteers of the School of Military Divers always conduct purchases with all due papers properly processed, high quality goods accurately transferred and prices reasonable and just. So, dear friends, come join our initiative: we don’t need to explain you the importance of this project for Ukraine’s survival as an independent state, do we?