Taylor Dives Into Navy Record Book
Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility diver Kamele Taylor exits the water during a repair on USS Columbus. Taylor graduated second in her class in August from the Navy Diving and Salvage Training Center in Florida. U.S. Navy photo by Katie Vanes.
Mililani resident Kamele Taylor achieved a new milestone for the U.S. Navy Aug. 5 when she rose to the ocean’s surface in Panama City, Fla., as the first civilian female from Pearl Harbor Shipyard to graduate from the Navy Diving and Salvage Training Center.
“I’m glad I made it through dive school,” she said. “It was pretty tough physically, and emotionally challenging.”
Taylor entertained the idea of becoming a diver when shipyard divers Garrett Doi and Derek Maikai noticed her swimming laps each morning and encouraged her. They told her she would be a prime candidate. “I was a strong swimmer at Mililani High School, and my dad was a free diver,” said Taylor, who has seven years experience as a shipyard rigger.
NDSTC students undergo grueling physical training, do hundreds of pushups and run up to 10 miles daily, according to CWO Chris Spann, shipyard diving division head. Taylor’s finish did not go unnoticed by her instructors either.
“Ms. Taylor’s effort, motivation and positive attitude were infectious,” said chief Navy diver Jason Pitts. “No matter the task, she rose to the top while never ceasing to amaze my
teammates and me. I am proud to call her a fellow deepsea diver.”
Taylor brought her Hawaii upbringing and can-do attitude to NDSTC for motivation during the rigors and stresses of training. “Some people let their minds take control of them, but you have to take control of your mind,” she said. “Pride was my motivation, to represent the Islands at dive school in Florida, showing that local girls can do it too.”
Taylor continues to apply her training and work ethic to her new position as a novice shipyard diver. On her second day on the job, she already was assisting with replacement propeller support on the USS Columbus.