US Navy Deep Sea

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US Navy Deep Sea

My name is Eddie Zhang, and I am an active duty US Navy Diving Officer. I was born in rural China and moved to Japan at the age of one. When I was three, my father was fortunate enough to secure a US work visa and thereby allow my whole family to immigrate to the United States, whereby we settled in Pittsburgh, PA. Growing up as the only Asian kid in my high school, I had a large chip on my shoulder and constantly felt the need to prove myself through rebellious behavior and an unrelenting worth ethic. As the only child of hardworking Chinese immigrants, my parents wanted me to pursue a stable, well-paying career as a lawyer, doctor, or banker. Unfortunately for them, I had other ideas. I didn’t grow up with an overwhelming desire to join the military nor did I ever feel the “call” to serve. Hell I barely knew anything about the military until my junior year of high school.

What I did know was that I was an angry, insecure kid with something to prove to the many people who questioned my toughness, intelligence, or ability to succeed in life. The military seemed like the natural choice for someone like me. Going to college was a non-negotiable fact of life for my parents, so I applied for and was fortunately accepted to attend the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD.

While attending Annapolis, I was drawn to the caliber of men within the Special Operations community. Their physical and mental attributes as well as the tight-knit brotherhood formed through shared hardships allured me, and I made it my goal to become a Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) officer. Unfortunately, I was medically disqualified shortly after the selection process due to my eyesight color deficiency. While I was no doubt devastated by the news, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise as I was able to stumble across a Navy Civil Engineer Corps (CEC) officer who served with the Navy Underwater Construction Teams (UCT).

Through him, I was able to learn about this hidden gem of a community and made it my new goal to become a Navy CEC diving officer. Through no shortage of networking, interviews, and PT sessions, I was fortunate enough to commision as a CEC officer, complete Navy dive school, and serve an incredible tour as the Officer-in-Charge (OIC) for a UCT Construction Dive Detachment (CDD). My time spent as a UCT OIC has been the most challenging and rewarding experience of my life. The men and women I’ve had the privilege of working with inside the Navy deep sea diving community are some of the finest I’ve ever met in my life, and it is truly the honor of my life to have been accepted into and served within this incredible brotherhood. Thanks DeepSea Magazine for allowing me to share my story, I appreciate everything you’re doing for the community. HOOYAH DEEP SEA!