PADI Diving Society member and PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor Maj. Joshua Vance found a way to mix his love for the underwater world, his enthusiasm for history, and a career as a pilot for the Marines into a quest to recover a historical World War II plane. Read why Vance became a PADI Pro and how it led him to search for a naval aircraft.
PADI Diving Society: Why did you want to start diving?
Joshua Vance: I am an active-duty Marine KC-130 pilot and received orders to deploy to Okinawa, Japan, in August 2006. I became very interested in diving and was certified within a month of arriving on the island.
Society: What has your experience been like as a PADI Professional?
Vance: My experience as a PADI professional has been amazing. It has been a true honor and privilege to teach people how to dive. Many of the people I have taught are active-duty service members and their family members. My most significant accomplishment as a PADI Pro was when I became an Open Water Scuba Instructor. It was a lot of hard work and worth every second!
Society: What is your ultimate diving adventure?
Vance: My diving experiences have been nothing short of incredible. I am a history enthusiast, particularly WWII. I have had the privilege to dive WWII wrecks and airplanes in the Kwajalein lagoon several times with my good friend Dan Farnham, a fellow PADI Diver and WWII history enthusiast.
Society: How did you get started with the Kingfisher Project?
Vance: My role in the Kingfisher search began last August when Dan mentioned that he was working on locating an aircraft lost in 1944, on the day U.S. Forces landed on Kwajalein Atoll. He gave me the names of the pilot and radioman who were flying that day. The pilot was lost after the aircraft was shot down by enemy fire, but the radioman successfully ditched the aircraft and survived. I tracked down the radioman, who is 94 years old, and had the privilege to speak with him, as well as two crew members of the USS YMS-383; those gentlemen are 89 and 88. These men are true heroes. I’ll be escorting the veterans back to Kwajalein later this year to visit the site.
To read Vance’s complete interview and more about the search for the Kingfisher, visit padi.com/kingfisher.