7th Special Forces Group Duo Wins Best Combat Diver Competition

best diver competition

A combat dive team completes a diving course at McKellars Pond June 16, 2022, during the Best Combat Diver Competition at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. US Army photo by Sgt. Dominique Cox.

Two Green Berets from 7th Special Forces Group claimed the title of Best Combat Diver Thursday, June 16, following two days of physically and mentally rigorous competition at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Nine pairs competed in the second annual Best Combat Diver Competition, hosted by Fort Bragg’s 3rd Special Forces Group and presented by the Combat Diver Foundation. The nine-event competition pitted elite divers from the Army’s 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th Special Forces Groups as well as the Air Force’s 14th Air Support Operations Squadron against each other.

After completing a pre-dive on Tuesday, the teams hit the ground running — literally — on Wednesday. The first day started with a physical fitness test which included a 5-mile run in almost 90-degree weather. Competitors then took to paper for a written test before splashing into Atchley Outdoor Pool. First-day water events culminated with an obstacle course, followed by a buddy breathe and search dive. Buddy breathing is a rescue technique in which two divers share one oxygen valve, taking turns breathing from it.

best diver competition

The second day of the Best Diver Competition included a surface swim, wing boat slalom, and kayak race. US Army photo by Sgt. Dominique Cox.

The second day of the Best Diver Competition included a surface swim, wing boat slalom, and kayak race. US Army photo by Sgt. Dominique Cox.

The second day of competition moved to McKellars Pond for an open water scramble that included a surface swim, wing boat slalom, and kayak. For the final challenge, competitors completed a closed-circuit dive, swimming from buoy to buoy without resurfacing, then raced to a nearby range for M4 and 9mm shooting events.

Sgt. 1st Class Tory A. and Capt. Drew F. from the US Army’s 7th Special Forces Group proved themselves the best of the best, taking first place. Full names were unavailable due to all competitors serving in special operations on active duty. The full results of the Best Combat Diver Competition were announced in a post-competition awards ceremony Thursday:


  1. Sgt. 1st Class Tory and Capt. Drew, 7th SFG
  2. Capt. Alec and Warrant Officer Luke, 3rd SFG
  3. CPT Josh and SGT Dylan, 7th SFG
  4. Staff Sgt. Alex and Staff Sgt. Tyler, 3rd SFG
  5. Sgt. 1st Class Eric and Master Sgt. Noah, 3rd SFG
  6. Staff Sgt. Garrett and Staff Sgt. Luke, 7th SFG
  7. Staff Sgt. Steve and Staff Sgt. Travis, 5th SFG
  8. Staff Sgt. Josh and Staff Sgt. Christian, 1st SFG
  9. Staff Sgt. James, 3rd SFG, and Senior Airman Antonio, 14th ASOS

Read Next: Combat Diver: Inside a Special Forces Mission on the Water

Jenna Biter has written for regional magazines and digital outlets including on great power competition and special operations medical teams for The National Interest. She is pursuing a master’s degree in national security and is working on speaking Russian. Her husband is on active duty in the US military. Know a good story about national security or the US military? Email Jenna.
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