Our second Mission Oriented Diving (MOD) trip took place in February on the USS Arizona in Honolulu where four WAVES divers worked with the National Park Service to measure the oil leaking from the underwater fuel tanks on the Arizona. It was a full week of hard work doing scientific research as well as a great history lesson.
The third MOD trip was conducted at Lake Mead in the submerged aggregate plant that was used to separate materials for constructing the Hoover Dam. 5 WAVES veterans and our founder Steve Rubin spent 8 days measuring and mapping the site while being trained by National Parks Service Submerged Resources Center archeologists and scientists. Our veterans are learning new skills while performing a valuable service to the Parks Service. Several have expressed the desire to continue their training in this area which may eventually lead to employment opportunities. This video provides an insight into how these projects effect the veterans who participate.
These week long projects provide the divers with valuable new skills and offer great opportunities for building friendships and camaraderie. Each buddy team has a specific mission to complete within a set time frame with clearly defined objectives. All participants report it to be a wonderful experience.
We have begun a project working with Loma Linda University Medical Center’s program called PossAbilities in which veterans with a variety of disabilities are given the SCUBA Experience. Those who wish to continue to Open Water SCUBA training and can obtain a doctor’s approval can complete the WAVES course. Out of 12 who participated in our Discover SCUBA Diving session, there are 5 divers enrolled in a future class, several are paralyzed and one who has an amputated limb.
This time of year is typically a slow time for diving since the air is cooler and ocean conditions can be somewhat more of a challenge. That notwithstanding, we had a very productive Discover SCUBA Diving class in February with 15 participants, we now have full classes scheduled through May with these and the ones from Loma Linda. Our staff continues to be a stretched thin and we are working to further develop several veteran participants into dive masters and instructors.