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Here is the training schedule as of a few years ago:
US Navy Diver Training Schedule:
Scuba, 25 training days
Second Class Diver, 89 training days
First Class Diver, 65 training days
Master Diver is not a school, it is an evaluation. There were 1-2 Master Diver candidates when I was in First Class School. They would be on deck with the class and the other MDs would throw scenarios at them to see how the react and problem solve. I'm not sure if they throw written tests at them or not. Master Divers rarely get in the water.
Loved the new Top Gun movie but the implausible ribbon racks, especially on the flag officers, were a distraction. Cannot read Jack Reacher novels because everything pertaining to promotions, discipline, military culture, and anything else personnel-related is impossibly wrong.
Your protagonist can have another rating and still be a Navy Diver. My son was an ETN1 (SS/DV) at the end of his 6-year enlistment 3 years ago. For the civilians out there, the ET means he was an electronics technician, the N means he’s a graduate of the nuclear training program, the 1 means he was a first class petty officer (E-6), the SS means he was submarine warfare qualified, and the DV means he was a Navy diver—one who left submarines while they were submerged. He used a Conshelf XIV.
I can’t talk technical details about Navy diving, but if you want a quick read from an editor who knows military personnel policy, let me know.
I also had the "(DV)" secondary rating with a primary enlisted rating in aviation electronics in the 1970s. That changed in the 1990s when the ND (Navy Diver) rating was created. I suppose the story could take place earlier but it might be confusing for modern audiences that only know what Google tells them. It gets confusing because you can be a qualified diver in the Navy but not have the Navy Diver rating today,
I do not know if they still use the "(DV)" designation for a secondary rating or not. For example, the primary HM rating for Corpsman (medics) can qualify as Diving Medical Technicians. I understand that all Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Technicians are rated for Scuba today, mostly open but some closed-circuit. Only a selected group of EODs were Scuba qualified when I was on active duty. Seabees can also have a diving secondary rating.
Today's enlisted SEALs have the SO (Special Operator) primary rating and are qualified in open and closed circuit Scuba, but never had the (DV) secondary rating or were called "Navy Divers". But of course they are divers and in the Navy. All this word salad is what you get with over a century of evolution. In the end, diving is just a mode of transportation to a jobsite.
I was gonna let it go as it's not directly relevant here, LoL. Even with advisers they still screw up. They best in the last decade has been John Wick and if you look super hard you can find one or two mistakes.