Story by: Spc. Aaron Moreno
Posted: December 13, 2012
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Members of the Texas Army National Guard’s 627th Engineer Heavy Dive Detachment, headquartered in Corpus Christi, Texas, welcomed a new commander during a unique underwater ceremony, Dec. 8.
Capt. Jacob Patterson received the detachment’s guidon and responsibility of the unit from Capt. Terrance Tysall, the outgoing commander. The ceremony was anything but routine as family, friends, and special guests watched the ceremony via an underwater video feed from a remotely operated vehicle.
“I have many goals coming into this unit,” Patterson said, “but primarily I want to continue the history of diving that they’ve started here in Texas for the military.”
“One of our primary missions is to support civil responders and I want to ensure we have the ability and force packages available successfully support civil authorities,” Patterson said about his new command.
The underwater guidon exchange is a tradition within the detachment that also showcases the unit’s unique capabilities to friends, family, and high ranking officers. The Heavy Dive Unit is one of the Texas Army National Guard’s newest units and outgoing commander Capt. Terrance Tysall joined the unit shortly after its creation.
According to Tysall, his fondest memory as team member and commander was helping to build the team from the ground up and working with talented Soldiers who wanted to take the unit to a higher level of operational capability.
“I was fortunate enough to be present when the team was growing and becoming a fully realized unit,” Tysall said. “I mean, we became real divers instead of just scuba. We got service supplied, we got our chamber, and we were really accepted by the Army as a larger entity.”
The unit is composed of scuba and surface supplied divers that can perform underwater tasks, including: demolitions; port construction and rehabilitation; salvage and clearance; and search and reconnaissance missions.
The unit was organized in 2008, and Patterson the detachment’s third commander.
“At the end of the day, this ceremony is not about me, but a new chapter in the history of this unit,” Patterson said. “I’m taking over a unit of highly trained Soldiers that are eager to serve and ready to face the challenges ahead. I am excited about the future and confident that we will succeed in our future operations.”