A Monument in Honor of US Navy Divers at Miramar National Cemetery
Former members of the Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit ONE Reserve Detachment 419, San Diego, have been actively planning and doing the administrative work to create and place a monument to honor ALL US Navy Divers at Miramar National Cemetery in San Diego along its Memorial Walk. The Navy Diver monument will be focused on Salvage divers, and will include tribute to EOD, SEALs, and USMC combat divers who are also part of the Navy Diving community. If all continues on schedule, the monument should be finished some time in 2022.
The idea came about when CAPT Ed Poss (ret) and CAPT David Swingle (ret) were attending the funeral services for a member of the unit three years ago. Both were former commanding officers of the Det in the 1990s. At the time there were three other monuments at the cemetery (Navy Nurses, SEABEES, and Jewish Servicemen) and Ed Poss mentioned that it would be appropriate for Divers to have such a monument. The two met with the director of the cemetery, received the extensive procedure for gaining approval and placing a monument there, and they began researching and organizing the project.
The San Diego MDSU Det 419 has maintained a considerable network of former members (many served more than ten years in the command and helped two members make Master Diver), and the idea was well-received. Last Fall during a reunion at EN1(DV) Frank Purdy’s (ret) home in San Diego members learned of the parameters, requirements, estimated cost, and then discussed the design development. David Swingle encouraged members in attendance to consider ideas for a design, to be creative and to ensure the monument captured the nature of Navy Diving, and of course to become the finest monument at the cemetery.
Being a non-profit organization is a requirement for donating a monument to any National cemetery. This proved to be an administrative challenge over the past nine months, but the Det is within a few weeks of obtaining its 501.c.3 status.
Frank Purdy has been prolific with his designs, while other members have contributed other appropriate drawings/photos/words for the Memorial’s stone surfaces. Another former member, SOC (SEAL) Mike Meoli (ret), has assisted immeasurably as he had a lead role in designing the newest monument at Miramar cemetery – for US Navy SEALs. He identified a stone-working company that can laser-etch pictures in granite that will last 400 to 600 years. The company has done fantastic work on a myriad of other projects across our country.
The former members of MDSU ONE Det 419 San Diego are proud to be accomplishing this mission.