In Depth: Spotlight on Clearance Divers

Chris Betts

Chris Betts

Chris Betts was born Sept. 23, 1999, in Riverview, N.B.

Betts grew up in East Hants, N.S., where he attended Hants East Rural High school. He joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 2017 as a Combat Engineer right after high school and was posted to Gagetown, N.B., in 2018.

Chris completed the Combat Diver prelim in May 2019, followed by the Combat Diver course in August 2019. During his time there, he was primarily employed as a RECCE (reconnaissance) Element for the field troops.

He participated in Exercise Roguish Buoy in February 2020 in Albert Head, B.C. During this exercise, his dive team was paired with a dive team from the U.K, where he made great friends and learned how different countries operate in diving exercises.

Betts participated in Operation Nanook-Nunalivut in March 2020 in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut. During this Op, Betts worked hand-in-hand with a dive team from Finland. This Op was his first time diving under the ice in the Arctic. He completed Clearance Diving Assessment Centre (CDAC) in February 2021 and was confirmed to attend a course in October.

Betts participated in Operation Bell Island in July 2021 in N.L., where he witnessed the Explosive Ordnance Disposal side of the Clearance Divers job. The operation’s mission was to remove ordnance from various ships that German submarines sunk during the Second World War.

His future aspirations as a Clearance Diver include completing the Improvised Explosive Device Disposal (IEDD) Operator course and participating in as many exercises and operations as possible.

Alex Castanga

Alexander Castagna

Alexander Castagna was born on Feb. 23, 1995, in Richmond Hill, Ont.

He grew up in River Drive Park, Ont., and enrolled in the military as a Naval Warfare Officer in 2013.

Castagna began his military career by studying at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ont., graduating in 2017 with a degree in Chemical Engineering. He was then posted to Victoria for training, where he completed his ship’s dive course and trade training.

Castagna’s first posting was HMCS Vancouver for six months until the ship entered the dry dock. He was then posted to HMCS Winnipeg as the ship was brought back from refit. He became the Clearance Diving Officer for the following two years and sailed through the ship’s Tiered Readiness Program, deploying on Operations Projection and Neon. While on operation, he applied and was selected for the 2021/2022 Clearance Diving Course.

Castagna was initially interested in Clearance Diving because of the fitness, military style, and community it brought. After being on the ships for a few years and having only positive experiences from Fleet Diving Unit (Pacific) and the people who worked there, he decided it was the career path he wanted to pursue.

Castagna’s greatest aspirations for becoming a Clearance Diving Officer are to ensure the unit maintains a desirable workplace and to enable the capabilities of each diver to optimize work throughout the unit and encourage their personal and career goals.



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