The short answer: it’s challenging.
The longer answer: well, keep reading.
In the military, tests are all about logistics. Plackis worked for 24-months to get ready for dive-school trials. Much of that time was spent on upper-body workout so she could meet the demanding training standards; 45 push-ups in a couple minutes followed by at least six pull-ups.
Plackis is a petite lady. Her upper body strength doesn’t match her male counterparts, so it needed initiative on her part to qualify. The physical standards are identical for everyone.
The training isn’t easy; for anyone. Once, in West Virginia, Plackis and her classmates trained with the River Riders to study the hydrology of rapid-moving water. When they reached training depth, Plackis said the water tossed her like a rag doll. They had to learn to be carefully tied down and always alert; or face the consequences. One dive found Plackis taking a rock to weigh herself down. The river’s current pulled the rock from her hands and smashed a forefinger against another boulder. Later, it took a needle stick to release the pressure from her swollen finger.
The annual “Deep Blue” is another drill that drives home the importance of being physically fit.
One day Plackis found herself in 5-feet waves while donning a 30-pound dive helmet as well as the regular scuba tank, ballast, and boots. With all that extra poundage, Plackis had to hoist herself onto a dive platform where, as a team, the crew had to pick the rest from the ocean. They were working around 2 tons of steel, and if they didn’t time it right, their lives and the lives of their surface support would be endangered.
Everyday life isn’t easy for a scuba diving crew. But the playing field is leveled. The training exercises help prepare them for the day when their skills will be fully-tested and needed in the real world.
“This is what I do best,” says Plackis.
Author Bio: Jerry Nelson, a Vietnam Veteran, is an American writer and photojournalist and is always interested in discussing future work opportunities. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and join the million-or-so who follow him on Twitter @Journey_America.