New York Troopers - History
Preserving the Past for Those Who Follow




Sgt. Gray - Unk - George Searles
Mike Wright - Bill Ernst - Tom Paluch
DIVING OPERATIONS                                             


Man has dived below the surface of the water for hundreds of years to provide food or financial gain through the gathering of sponges & pearls. Only mans lung capacity determined the length of the dive. The first snorkel in recorded history was a hollow reed.

In 1934, the State Police purchased a single Morse Shallow Water Diving Apparatus that was capable for a diver to descend to a depth of 50 feet.

World War II provided the background for the development of self contained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA) by the French Navy. It was the British & Italian naval frogmen who proved its worth during special diving assignments.

Divers are called out in all types of weather & conditions to search for a victim of drowning or evidence from a crime. More often than not, diving operations are conducted under adverse conditions. Visibility and low temperatures create the largest impediment as well as underwater hazards and polluted water. All underwater dives are in two man teams and the divers remain within sight of one another.
The first Division Diving School was conducted on September 17, 1956 at Lake Lauderdale, Cambridge, N.Y. Twenty (20) trooper volunteer divers with military experience passed a rigid physical examination & began training. They were trained and qualified in skin diving and use of deep-diving gear. Captain George W. Ashley, Sgt. Robert E. Lund & Corporal H.T. Smetana, gave instruction.
Members that attended & successfully completed the course were:
A - Cpl. R.E. Powers Tpr. R.E. Minekheim Tpr. D.P. Studd
B – Cpl. J.W. Kelly Tpr. R.J. Trombly Tpr. R.A. Buell
C – Tpr. M.C. Capozz Tpr. J.F. Franke Tpr. F.W. Leibe
D – Tpr. E.W. Singleton Tpr.R.E. Parrow Tpr. H.G. Stewart
G – Tpr. W.J. Ennis Tpr. W.E. Draghi Tpr. C.A. Judkins
Tpr. D.J. Guiry
K – Tpr. P.F. Paquet Tpr. D.M. Bender Tpr. D.D. Deviney
Diver unk - Bill Stubbins - Mike Wright - Bill Mulryan

20 Oct 1937

The Troop “A” diving equipment and 18 foot boat went into service for the first time this afternoon, answering a call to aid in the search for Timothy Heer, three year old Jamestown boy missing from his home since noon yesterday. The diving squad commanded by Sergent C.Z. MacDonald left for Jamestown at mid-afternoon. Scuba and grappling efforts were unsuccessful. The Troop A bloodhound led troopers to the edge of the lake diminishing the probability of kidnapping.

On 23 Oct 1937, the body of Timothy Heer was found on Chautauqua wedged against a dock across the lake almost directly opposite the family cottage.

 Frank Lachnicht-Art McGaughy - Albert Perry - 1938
Several State Troopers from Troop “A” received underwater training at the US Navy School in New Jersey and upon returning provided training to others in the Troop. They were: George Zink, Daniel O’Halloran, Robert Minekheim, Raymond Meyering and Donald Studd, James Moochler, John Braisington and Thomas Salvameni. The men were equipped with full-face masks and carried a 35-pound compressed air tank with lung equipment and could descend to a depth of 125 feet. 
Jim Moochler - Gordon Mosher - 1964
Top - Tpr. Don Vogt - 1964

  Trooper Magazine - 1965