“Compelling and visionary. DiMercurio’s characters run as deep as his submarines themselves!”
--Joe Buff, author of Crush Depth and Thunder in the Deep

"DiMercurio really knows his subs...his characters step right off the sub deck and onto his pages."
--Larry Bond

"A Master Rivaling Tom Clancy."
--Publishers Weekly

--San Francisco Examiner

--Associated Press

"Superb storytelling."
--Virginia-Pilot/Ledger Star

Navy Diver or Drowned Rat?

[IMAGE] September 1981. Navy Scuba School, Groton, Connecticut. I got talked into going into the Scuba program. I'm on the top row of wetsuit wearing divers, furthest on the right. I damn near drowned when we were instructed to throw our gear into the water, jump in, set it up and get it going. I jumped in after hyperventilating, put my regulator onto the tank manifold, valved it in, and by that time I was almost out of air. During this underwater work (I'm terrified of being under water) the instructors swim around in scuba gear and "harass" the students, including knocks on the head, punches in the abdomen, the occasional tap in the groin. I was almost ready to put the regulator in my mouth when I took the shot in the belly, lost my concentration, put the regulator in, and tried to purge the water out by blowing into it, with what air I had left. It is illegal to purge the regulator with the "pussy button," which uses the tank's air to purge the regulator (who knows why they come up with these rules), and if they catch you cheating they flunk you without appeal (of course, these are the guys who taught me the Voyage of the Devilfish motto, "You ain't cheatin', you ain't tryin'"). So thinking I had purged the regulator, and now out of air and slightly worried, I drew in a huge mountain of air. Except it wasn't air. The regulator was still flooded, and I'd just inhaled water. I instantly panicked. It is something that has to be experienced to be believed. I thrashed in the water like a fish on the pier, but thanks to my dive buddy, a Marine Corps survival swimming instructor, I found a fresh regulator jammed into my mouth. The Marine grabbed me by the neck and wouldn't let me swim to the surface, which would mean being flunked. Hell of a choice, flunking the program or dying. By then my vision tunneled out and the upper functions of my brain were long gone, only the brain stem still online, and I fought like an 800 pound Marlin. About two minutes later I'd coughed out all the water and a sense of reason returned. I "came to" with my dive buddy's regulator in my mouth, with my buddy's blue face in front of me as he began to pass out. Feeling like an idiot I plugged his regulator back into his face and found mine, the purge operation finally working. And that was just a Tuesday out of a month of Drowning Hell.

Michael DiMercurio
Princeton, New Jersey



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