Green beret killed during pre-swim underwater exercise identified

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A special forces engineer sergeant died during a swimming exercise at Fort Campbell, Ky.

SSG Paul Lincoln Olmstead died while attending the 5th Special Forces Group Marine Assessment Course, which prepares Soldiers for the Combat Diver Qualification (CDQC) course. This is the second death involving a green beret during scuba training in recent months.

SSG Olmstead was swimming on the surface at Joe Swing Park Reservoir in Fort Campbell when it went underwater and never resurfaced. A search for him began immediately, according to an Army press release. Olmstead was assigned to the 1st Battalion, B Company, 19th Special Forces Group.

“It’s an absolute tragedy, especially when we lose someone as capable and promising as Lincoln,” said Colonel Paul Peters, commander of the 19th Special Forces Group. “Sometimes we expect this sort of thing in combat, but not during training, which makes it difficult for the unit and especially for the family.”

“We are committed to ensuring that the family is supported over the coming days, weeks and months,” added Peters.

Olmstead leaves behind a wife and two children.

Soldiers from 10th SFG perform an underwater swim in the MAC or pre-scuba course before attending CDQC in Key West, Florida. (DVIDS)

Olmstead joined the Utah National Guard in 2016 and graduated from the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and the school’s Special Forces Engineer Sergeant Course in 2019. He graduated with honor from the Advanced Combat Course urban special forces; a graduate of the Special Forces Sniper Course; Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Evasion Course (SERE); and military free fall course.

Olmstead’s body was found Wednesday morning with help from the Fort Campbell Fire and Emergency Services, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and Montgomery County Emergency Services. He was pronounced dead by emergency personnel at Fort Campbell and taken to Blanchfield Army Community Hospital.

The incident is still under investigation.

The maritime assessment course

The Maritime Assessment Course (MAC), formerly known as the “Pre-Scuba”, is an assessment tool and training course designed to physically and mentally prepare selected soldiers for the rigors of the Diver Qualification Course. seven week fight. The CDQC is one of the toughest schools in the military. It certifies troops to conduct submarine combat operations. MAC is a prerequisite course to travel to Naval Air Station Key West, Florida to attend CDQC.

MAC pre-scuba green berets
A green beret from the 10th SFG recovers a 20-pound weight from the bottom of the pool during the MAC or pre-scuba course. (DVIDS)

Major Dan Lessard, spokesperson for 1st Special Forces Command, said training was suspended on Wednesday but resumed a day later after security protocols were reassessed. Training for the course was moved from the tank to a swimming pool, which was considered a more controlled environment. The training always has a high ratio of instructors and students in the water for safety reasons.

In July, another Green Beret, SSG Micah Walker of 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group, became unconscious during a water walk exercise at Army CDQC in Key West. He died soon after.

Walker’s death is still under investigation.

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