In Depth: Spotlight on Clearance Divers

Sam Phillips: 

Sam Phillips was born in October 2001 in Marlow, England. He was raised in the United Kingdom until he was 7 when he moved with his parents and younger sister to Halifax, N.S., in 2009.

Growing up, Phillips played many sports, including soccer, hockey, and rugby. Playing these sports put him in a team environment, so he tried to find a career that gave him the same. Phillips joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 2018 at 16 as a Port Inspection Diver (PID) in the Naval Reserves.

He did not come from a swimming background and had never done any scuba diving until 2019, when he began his PID course. He instantly fell in love with diving and being in the water. After the course, he got employment at Fleet Diving Unit (Atlantic) in Shearwater, N. S., where he worked alongside the Clearance Divers at the Unit. He witnessed the close bond between Clearance Divers, how they performed various jobs in small teams, and became interested in joining.

He challenged the Clearance Diving Assessment Centre (CDAC) in 2021 and completed the 6-day selection on the 2021-2022 Clearance Diver course. Over the 11 and a half months, the course challenged him in various ways, both physically and mentally, and has given him training like no other. Phillips’s favourite part of the course was the Underwater Demolition phase, where the Divers used explosive methods to destroy underwater targets.

Phillips looks forward to a career as a Clearance Diver. He wants to pass on his knowledge by teaching others to dive and having the opportunity to travel the world.

Morgun Knutson: 

Richard ‘Morgun’ Knutson was born on June 10, 1994, in High Prairie, Alta., and grew up on the West Coast in Sechelt, B.C.

Before joining the Canadian Armed Forces in 2015 as a Combat Engineer, Knutson worked in various labour intensive positions, most extensively as a Reinforcing Ironworker installing rebar in the Vancouver area.

After his initial training, Knutson was posted to 1 Combat Engineer Regiment within the Field Troop in Edmonton, Alta. After a year of training, he was selected to attend the Army Dive Center’s Combat Diver Course. There, Knutson enjoyed working with the Dive Team and participating in other events, exercises, and courses, such as the Mountain Man race, the Hercule’s Ram competition, and the Basic Mountain Operations course.

In 2019, Knutson decided to submit a Component Transfer to the Reserve Force. Using his diving experience with the Army, he seamlessly switched occupations to the Port Inspection Diver trade. This continued his diving career and allowed him to move back to the West Coast.

In February 2021, Knutson decided to attend the Clearance Diving Assessment Center to pursue his diving aspirations, which resulted in his selection to the Clearance Diving course.

After completing the Clearance Diving course, Knutson is eager to begin the next career course in Florida on the Explosive Ordnance Disposal. In his time off, he looks forward to enjoying Victoria through hiking, kayaking, and lounging with friends on one of the city’s many patios.

Evan Patterson: 

Evan Patterson was born in Mississauga, Ont. on July 29, 1996, and was raised in Burlington, Ont. with two brothers.

Growing up, Patterson played hockey and soccer, and enjoyed playing video games. After completing high school, he applied to college and the military. The military responded first, and in 2016, he joined the Combat Engineers.

In 2018, Patterson completed the Combat Diver prelim and was loaded onto the subsequent course, which showed him how fun diving is.

In March 2019, Patterson was deployed to the Arctic with Fleet Diving Unit (Atlantic). There, he was introduced to the Clearance Diving trade, and after three weeks of working with the Clearance Divers, he knew it was what he wanted to do. He submitted his application to switch trades and completed CDAC in February 2021. The course left him with many memories and nine more brothers.

In his free time, Patterson likes playing sports, mountain biking, hiking, and fishing. He looks forward to travelling the world by going on as many operations and exercises as possible as a Clearance Diver.

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