BANDOS, Republic of the Maldives (NNS) — Sailors from the Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided missile frigate USS Rodney M. Davis (FFG 60) conducted an underwater reenlistment ceremony off the coast of Bandos Island, Oct. 8, during the ship’s recent port visit to the Maldives.
Operations Specialist 2nd Class Michael Norman, from Kenner, Louisiana, and Quartermaster 3rd Class Christopher Jurado, from Echo Park, California, reenlisted on the ocean floor during an open water dive in service dress whites and SCUBA gear.
“Not many people get to do their first reenlistment underwater,” said Jurado. “It was a unique experience.”
The event required considerable coordination, including retrieving diving certifications by mail, waterproofing reenlistment certificates, and briefing local diving instructors.
“Several Sailors went on their very first open water dive just to see this event,” said Lt. Jennifer Fleming, Rodney M. Davis operations officer and the reenlisting officer for Norman.
“Lt. Fleming caught me off-guard when she passed me a coin after the oath,” said Norman. “I was lucky to have my own department head be a certified diver – I think it was a check off the bucket list for both of us.”
Commanding Officer Cmdr. Todd Whalen, Executive Officer Cmdr. Shockey Snyder and other members of the crew observed the ceremony while snorkeling below the water’s surface.
“We have re-enlisted Sailors in some interesting places, but this was the first underwater re-enlistment I’ve been a part of,” said Whalen. “Petty Officers Norman and Jurado are some of the Navy’s finest, so I was honored to be at their ceremony.”
Following the ceremony, guests continued to dive and snorkel, experiencing the unique biodiversity and beauty of the Maldives. The celebration continued ashore, where Sailors enjoyed the local cuisine and entertainment, including traditional Maldivian music and dance.
“My favorite part of the ceremony was when my shipmates and best friend dove down to shake my hand and give me an underwater hug to congratulate me,” said Norman. “It was definitely one of the proudest moments in my career.”
Rodney M. Davis, homeported in Everett, Washington, is on patrol in the Indian Ocean conducting theater security cooperation in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operation.
By Quartermaster 3rd Class Benjamin Winslow, USS Rodney M. Davis Public Affairs