Rick Armstrong

Mr. Rick Armstrong enlisted in the United States Navy in July of 1975. He served on various submarine, diving and salvage ships within the Pacific Fleet during his first tour of duty in the Navy, including USS DELIVER (ARS 23) as a quartermaster. After changing rates and graduating from HT “A” school at Treasure Island, CA, he reported onboard USS MCKEE (AS-41) as part of the pre-commissioning crew and served in the DC division. After departing MCKEE, he attended Second Class Dive School (DSTD), located at NAB, Coronado. 

Upon graduation, HT2 (DV) Armstrong reported to the USS MCKEE dive locker, conducting underwater repairs on COMSUBPAC nuclear-powered attack submarines. Following his second tour on USS MCKEE, he attended a first-class mixed-gas dive school at the Naval Diving Salvage Training Center (NDSTC) in Panama City, Florida. Upon graduating, he reported to the Navy Oceaneering System Center (NOSC), located at Point Loma in San Diego, CA, as part of a research and development dive team operating off San Clemente Island, CA, certifying the Navy’s new Vertical Launch System (VLS) platform and recovering MK-50 air-launched torpedoes in 180’ feet of water.

From NOSC, he transferred to Navy Instructor School and reported to Second Class Dive School (DSTD), NAB, Coronado, as a deep-sea diving instructor. He earned the CNET Master Training Specialist (MTS) NEC and became an unlimited diving supervisor. Rick was promoted to Chief Petty Officer (CPO) at DSTD and accepted orders for Master Diver evaluations at NDSTC, Panama City, Florida. HTC (MDV) Armstrong reported to the Consolidated Divers Unit (CDU) in 1991 and served as the Senior Enlisted Advisor (SEA) and Command Master Diver, where he helped establish the Navy’s first underwater wet weld dive team and was certified as the Navy’s first U/W NDT inspector. Rick was selected for the Chief Warrant Officer (Diver) program and commissioned as a CWO2 in 1994.

Deep-Sea Diving

Transferring from CDU, he reported to LDO/CWO Indoctrination School located in Pensacola, Florida; upon graduating, he reported to USS DIXON (AS 37) as the R6 Division Officer and ship’s Diving Officer. He qualified as a Surface Warfare Officer in 1996 and was USS DIXON’s decommissioning officer. Upon decommissioning DIXON, he received orders back to USS MCKEE and served as the Diving Officer and R-6 Division Officer. He was again appointed decommissioning Officer for MCKEE and rode the Tender to Portsmouth, Virginia for the ships decommissioning and final disposition. 

Upon transferring from EX-USS MCKEE, he reported to Consolidated Divers Unit (CDU) as the Diving and Repair Officer for all underwater repairs conducted on U.S Navy ships, submarinesand carriers located within Navy Southwest Region. He was promoted to CDU Executive Officer (XO), where he served until he received orders to Mobile Diving Salvage Unit (MDSU) TWO, located in Little Creek, Virginia. 

Serving on Active Duty for 34 Years

Rick served as MDSU TWO, Detachment Alpha, Officer in Charge (OIC) onboard USNS MOHAWK during Operation Iraqi Freedom within the Suez Canal and Diving Officer of the COMSIXTHFLT ready salvage and dive team. Once back in CONUS, he was assigned to act as MDSU TWO Diving Officer during two “MONITOR” expeditions, diving HEO2 mixed gas diving missions to 254’ FSW in order to retrieve the ships steam engine and main condenser. He was moved into the MDSU TWO operations officer billet, where he served until receiving orders to Southwest Regional Maintenance Center (SWRMC), where he served as Diving Division Head and was promoted to CWO5. CWO5 Armstrong retired on 30 April 30, 2009, after serving on active duty for 34 years. He was hired on by SWRMC as a full-time federal employee in 2009 and served as the Code 970 Dive Manager, operating one of the Navy’s largest diving commands for Underwater Ships Husbandry repairs to ships stationed within the Pacific Fleet, until his retirement in February of 2020. Rick spent 45 years serving on active duty and in federal service.

Rick is married to the former Teri Lynn Benson of San Francisco, CA (a retired San Diego School teacher with 32years of teaching 1st and 2nd grades) and has two son. Tyler, age 28, is currently an EM2 (SW/AW) serving at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) in Iwakuma Japan and Jake, aged 25, is a San Diego City Lifeguard currently waiting to go into the Navy Special Operations branch. He and his wife currently reside in Pacific Beach, CA and will soon travel the world. Rick is an accomplished painter of Deep-Sea Diving. He has hundreds of paintings hanging in homes, offices and museums throughout the world. His art business is called “DEEPSEADIVEART”.

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