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Bryan
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Joe Strickland

Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:34 am

As a young boy growing up in Puerto Rico the late 60’s, watching The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau was an experience that was incredibly influential for me and most definitely started a lifetime passion for the water. My brothers and I spent many carefree days at the beaches exploring the tidal pools, wondering in amazement what lies just beyond.
We moved from San Juan in the spring of 1973 to Jacksonville, FL. Numerous family trips to the Keys and the beautiful freshwater springs of Florida only fueled my desire to become a diver. I’ll never forget the summer that I was a fearless 15-year old and found myself face to face with a barracuda in Key West-- absolutely sealing the deal that diving was the sport I was meant for. After pestering my parents for the next 8-months, they finally relented and allowed me to pursue my diving certification.
In June 1978 I was certified by both the YMCA and PADI. As part of our training we performed check-out dives at Goldhead State Park and open water dives in the Keys. My dive buddy was another 16-year old in my class; however, that partnership was quickly dissolved by the Dive Master when my buddy and I decided to see how far we could swim without taking into consideration that you actually needed to save enough air to make it back to the dive boat. After swimming without a care in the world, we ran out of air. We signaled the Dive Master but he just made us surface swim back and promptly assigned both of us new dive buddies.
Back in Jacksonville, I ran into an old high school buddy, who was also a diver, and we dove every chance and anywhere we could. Our adventures were heavily focused on the springs, mostly because we didn’t have the money to go anywhere else. As you can imagine, two teenagers will find a way to get into trouble and we helped to make this happen at Troy Springs in 1979. The river was running extremely high , causing the spring to become very murky. After descending to the bottom and starting our ascent, we quickly discovered that we had mistakenly placed ourselves under a rock ledge with zero visibility. Surprisingly, I didn’t panic and after pointing out our predicament to my buddy (with my dive light) I took control and held onto his tank while swimming in a circular pattern hoping to find the edge of this ledge. We swam increasingly larger circles for what seemed like an eternity. At the very moment I found our way free of the ledge, my buddy shot for the surface like a Polaris Missile. I managed to surface under far greater composure and learned that he had completely run out of air just as we found our way out. A quick check of my SPG showed that I only had 300 psi remaining in my tank. This was definitely a mistake that could have ended tragically and was a lesson that I’ll never forget.
I went on to College and majored in Biology and minored in Marine Science and Chemistry. My Marine Science courses allowed me to continue my passion for diving and upon graduation I joined the Navy as an Officer. My first duty Station was aboard the USS Puget Sound based out of Norfolk, VA. During my two years aboard the Puget Sound we spent 6-weeks in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and I was fortunate to be able to dive the local reefs just off the beach at Gitmo. To this day, I believe they were probably some of the best dives I’ve ever made. We also made a Mediterranean Cruise and I was able to dive there as well.
After my tour on the Puget Sound I made a career change after deciding that I didn’t really enjoy being “Haze Gray and Underway” and became a Navy Aerospace Physiologist. This allowed me to go to flight school where I learned to fly helicopters. Upon completing flight school I was assigned to the Aviation Survival Training Center in Norfolk where we performed physiology and water survival training for the Navy Aircrew. I was assigned as the Department Head of the Water Survival Unit and in this capacity I was designated the Command Diving Officer over the 8 Navy divers. The divers were assigned to us as Safety divers for the operation of our Helo Dunker egress trainer. As the Command Diving Officer I was able to dive with my Sailors and even had the honor of re-enlisting one of them while diving on surface supplied air while wearing a Kirby-Morgan Superlite helmet. It was during this tour that I was deployed to Operations Desert Shield and Storm with the U.S. Marines. Upon my return to the States, I requested follow-on orders to serve again with the Marines and this brought me to New Orleans, LA. Over the course of four years I was able to dive the Oil Rigs and started spear fishing on a regular basis. Although New Orleans was a dangerous place to live back then, I really enjoyed diving and living in the Big Easy.
Fast forward 7-years and my desire to own and dive a double hose regulator came true. After a short search, I found myself the proud new owner of a Voit Trieste II double hose regulator and I knew I was hooked! I started searching the Internet and even visited Scuba Board to find out everything I could about them. Of course I also started looking for more double hose regulators to purchase. I was fortunate to receive the help and support from several members and that’s where I first had the pleasure of corresponding with Greg Barlow (long before I ran back into him on VDH). Greg was extremely kind enough to provide me with copies of various odds and ends about the Trieste regulator.
In March 2004-- as fate would have it-- my path crossed at Blue Springs with Bryan Pennington, Rob “1969ivan1” Studnika, Tom “Captain” Madere, Chuck Tenge, and Jack Wilhelm. It was great to dive as a group of Vintage Double Hose enthusiasts. It was from this initial get-together that the Annual Sand Dog Dive Event was born. Although Chuck and Jack have moved on to other things, Bryan, Rob, Captain and I have remained close and continue to dive vintage.
I still continue to serve in the Military as a Captain in the Navy Reserve. I’m currently assigned as the Commanding Officer of a Medical Unit that takes care of the Marines and Sailors of a Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron.
Finally, my small collection includes, 2 - Spiro Techniques Royal Mistrals, 1 – USD Royal Aqua Master, 2 – USD DA Aqua Masters, 1 – Voit Trieste II, 1 – Nemrod Snark III Silver, 1 – USD DW Mistral, and last but certainly not least, 1- Phoenix Aqua Master (first run).
In closing, I would like to thank the members of NAVED and VDH for their fellowship and especially the camaraderie we share as Vintage Double Hose divers.

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swimjim
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Re: Joe Strickland

Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:19 pm

Nice write up Joe. I enjoyed the read. Looks like you've been around some!

Jim

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8dust
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Re: Joe Strickland

Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:34 pm

Really enjoyed the write-up Joe and appreciated the glimpse into your life of diving and service. Sounds like some pretty cool duty assignments.

I look forward to meeting up one day soon. With any luck, it will be PCB in June! :mrgreen:

Fred
Freddo
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JES
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Location: Fleming Island, FL

Re: Joe Strickland

Sun Feb 19, 2012 2:01 pm

Thank you Jim & Fred. I'm glad you've enjoyed my write-up.

Between my father’s Navy Career and mine I've lived in many different places.

I was born in Batavia, NY but during my first 5-years we moved to Cartagena, Spain and then to Alameda, CA before settling in Puerto Rico. We actually lived there for another 5-years before we moved to Florida.

Over the course of my career, I've been to a number of interesting places. However, Germany, England & Scotland, and my two deployments to Norway (above the Arctic Circle) would definitely rank among my favorites. 8)
NAVED Master Diver #108
'Anima Sana In Corpore Sano’

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ivan's mermaid
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Re: Joe Strickland

Sun Feb 19, 2012 4:57 pm

Hi Joe: Thanx for your story. You have lived in many cool places and I'm glad you quit pushing "the limits" before you got hurt back in the day.....
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1969ivan1
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Re: Joe Strickland

Sun Feb 19, 2012 7:34 pm

Joe you are a very modest man. I had no idea you had done so much in the service of our country. Thank you so much for your service and it is an honor to dive with you.

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Bryan
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Re: Joe Strickland

Sun Feb 19, 2012 7:48 pm

1969ivan1 wrote:Joe you are a very modest man. I had no idea you had done so much in the service of our country. Thank you so much for your service and it is an honor to dive with you.
Could not have said it better myself...Thank you
Doing it right should include some common sense, not just blindly following specs and instructions. .Gary D, AWAP on SB

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gj1963
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First Name: Geoff
Location: AlbuquerqueNM

Re: Joe Strickland

Sun Feb 19, 2012 8:32 pm

Great writeup - I really enjoy reading these. Thanks!
-Geoff

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14020
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First Name: Kim
Location: Erowal Bay, NSW, Australia

Re: Joe Strickland

Mon Feb 20, 2012 2:18 am

Thank you for your write up. I find the back ground provided by you and those who contribute to this subject incredibly interesting. It adds to my depth of understanding of how and where you and the other have gained their experience and knowledge. Which is the essence of the credibility of this site.

Thank you and Happy Double Hose Diving.

Regards,
Kim,
Ocean Trekker, Dangerous When Wet.
"Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men" Douglas Barder.

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captain
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Re: Joe Strickland

Mon Feb 20, 2012 1:03 pm

Love that cert card photo, and New Orleans is still a dangerous place to live. If you ever visit NAS Nola again give me a heads up, I owe you a lunch. See you in PC this June.
Captain

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simonbeans
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Location: Rochester NY

Re: Joe Strickland

Mon Feb 20, 2012 2:26 pm

A Professional cast member of Sea Hunt 50 Celebration and Sea Hunt live!!

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Check out my website: www.vintagescubastuff.com

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Vintagediver
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Location: Benzonia, Michigan

Re: Joe Strickland

Tue Feb 21, 2012 10:44 am

Hi Joe. Thanks for your write-up; I really enjoyed reading it. You've definitely been around, and been a busy guy. It's amazing how much we don't know and learn about each other with these write-ups. Safe Diving To You! Terry
The friendship of many has been inspired and created while together we've explored beneath the waves the wonders of God's creation.

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Member of The 2016, 2017 Sea Hunt Forever Dive Team

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DaleC
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Re: Joe Strickland

Wed Feb 22, 2012 2:21 am

Joe thanks for the write up. As usual, it's great to put some context to the people who post here on the board.
I'd also like to thank you for the positive comments you always seem to make on many different threads. You are definitely one of the regulars that makes people feel welcome.
NAVED #203
#20 International Brotherhood for the Assistance of Stateless Persons

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Aileron
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First Name: Lisa
Location: Stuart, FL

Re: Joe Strickland

Wed Feb 22, 2012 3:47 am

Hey Joe...where you goin' with that gun in your hand......(sorry, I'm just that goofy)

Great write up Sir! I have a soft spot in my heart for Navy guys! Thank you for serving this country for so many years, and counting. Hope to see you in PCB!!!

Happy Vintagy Diving!!!

Lisa
The Kids: Royal Mistral, Voit Faux 50 Fathom, Jet Air, PRAM x 2, Snark III Silver, DA, Healthways, DA Non Mag
NAVED #205

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antique diver
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Location: North-Central Texas

Re: Joe Strickland

Wed Feb 22, 2012 9:40 am

Joe, that was a fun read. You got to do some good diving as a teenager, and have led what sounds like an interesting life. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us!

BT
"I get plenty of excercise just pushing my luck!"

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