Confessions Of A Navy Diver

Mandatory Fun
Navy Diver 3rd Class Bryan Myers, assigned to Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 2, leaps from rock to rock along the ocean floor during diving operations.
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jayme Pastoric

Welcome to Confessions Of, a weekly series where Task & Purpose’s James Clark solicits hilarious, embarrassing, and revealing stories from troops and vets about their job, billet, or a tour overseas.

Humans are not meant to be on the bottom of the ocean, or at any depth where you can’t pop back to the surface — or just stand up and walk to the shore. No air, immense pressure, and limited visibility, it’s one of the most inhospitable places on the planet. So it takes a certain mix of bravado, balls, brawn, and brain to operate in an environment that could leave you dead about 20 different ways.

Navy divers like Tommy McConnell have those qualities in spades. They also have a few traditions that set them apart. Such as doling out parting gifts to women they’ve spent the night with.

Navy Diver 2nd Class Tommy McConnell.Photo courtesy of Tommy McConnell

One tradition dates back to when Navy divers would wear shirts with blue on the outside, and gold on the inside. They’d wear the shirts — with the blue on the outside — when they were in the water during training, and when they were finished, the divers would flip the shirts inside out, so the gold was showing. This is so the diving instructors would know which sailors had completed the event, explains McConnell.

Related: Confessions Of A Tank Commander »

Over the years, it evolved. The divers still get the shirts, but they don’t always keep them, not if they get lucky at least.

“There’s sort of a thing where if we do meet a girl out in town, and if things go well for us, we give ‘em a blue and gold as a token of our appreciation,” says McConnell, who’s been a Navy diver for roughly six years and served two tours, one to the Middle East and one to the Pacific.

“I’ve been married for about four years now, so the blue-and-gold lifestyle has come and gone in my world, but I gotta be honest, I did have a special drawer of blue and gold that didn’t fit me well and those were like my back ups, if things went well,” he says, before quipping: “I had a few disposable ones to hand out.”

Now, say what you will about giving a girl a shirt as a “thank you for sex” parting gift, at least it’s not a pair of silkies that stink like ball sack and medicated baby powder.

Another tradition is the deep sea kiss, which involves two grown men sharing a drink, sort of.

One morning during McConnell’s first deployment, his chief came storming into the sailors’ quarters to read them the riot act. The reason: The ship’s captain received a call from the local bar that the sailors had been kissing each other and fighting.

“So, there’s this tradition among Navy divers, and it's pretty exclusive to us, and it’s kinda weird,” McConnell says. “What we’ll do is we’ll take a shot and hold it our mouth, and basically baby-bird it to a junior guy. That’s a deep sea kiss.”

As for the ass-chewing they received: “That’s actually exactly what occurred,” McConnell says. “We were deep sea kissing and then a scuffle broke out. The funniest thing is that it was actually our petty officer in charge who did it.”

Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley from 1979's 'Alien' (20th Century Fox)

Editor's Note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared on, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

QUANTICO, Va. -- Marines who spend much of their day lifting hefty ammunition or moving pallets full of gear could soon get a helping hand.

The Marine Corps is close to signing a deal to test an exoskeleton prototype that can help a single person move as much as several leathernecks combined.

Read More Show Less
NEC Corp.'s machine with propellers hovers at the company's facility in Abiko near Tokyo, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019. The Japanese electronics maker showed a "flying car," a large drone-like machine with four propellers that hovered steadily for about a minute. (Associated Press/Koji Sasahara

'Agility Prime' sounds like a revolutionary new video streaming service, or a parkour-themed workout regimen, or Transformers-inspired niche porno venture.

But no, it's the name of the Air Force's nascent effort to replace the V-22 Osprey with a militarized flying car — and it's set to take off sooner than you think.

Read More Show Less
In this March 12, 2016, file photo, Marines of the U.S., left, and South Korea, wearing blue headbands on their helmets, take positions after landing on a beach during the joint military combined amphibious exercise, called Ssangyong, part of the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle military exercises, in Pohang, South Korea. (Associated Press/Yonhap/Kim Jun-bum)

Task & Purpose is looking for a dynamic social media editor to join our team.

Our ideal candidate is an enthusiastic self-starter who can handle a variety of tasks without breaking a sweat. He or she will own our brand's social coverage while working full-time alongside our team of journalists and video producers, posting to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (feed, stories, and IGTV), YouTube, and elsewhere.

Read More Show Less
Photos: IMDB

The only thing Hollywood might love more than a good-looking man named Chris — heavy emphasis on might — is a war film. And in recent years, a primary constant in contemporary war films has been facial hair.

Read More Show Less

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

The legendary former Navy SEAL Adm. Bill McRaven said at an event on Wednesday that China's technical and national defense capabilities were quickly approaching — and sometimes surpassing — those of the US, representing what he called a "holy s---" moment for the US.

McRaven, who was the head of Special Operations Command during the 2011 operation on the Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's Pakistan compound, said at the Council on Foreign Relations event that "we need to make sure that the American public knows that now is the time to do something" about China's rapid increases in research and developments in technology that threaten US national security.

Read More Show Less