Recently WAVES biographer Steve Moss had the opportunity to interview Sgt Richard Silva.
In 2000 at the age of 28, Richard approached his wife about his need to change up life a little. “I had a great deal of pride and a deep sense of patriotism and knew it was time for a change”. He approached his wife about joining the Marines. “I felt the Marine Corps was the right fit because of the history and tradition of that branch versus other options.”
Being older and more mature than the rest of his basic training unit was interesting. Richard quips, “I served on joint task-forces with Chris Kyle and had to laugh when the called him ‘Grand Pa’. It struck home because I’d been called the same”.
Richard served as a Force Recon Marine with the 1st Recon Battalion as a sniper and Fire Team Lead and spent one tour in Iraq in 2004. During that time, he promoted to Corporal and was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Start with V for valor.
When asked about WAVES Richard says simply. “Diving saved my marriage.” Richard is dealing with Post Traumatic Stress and Survivors Guilt; he basically refused to leave his home. “I was harsh on my wife, my daughters, and everyone around me. Something had to change”. He had some experience with SCUBA while in the service and suggested that to his wife. He knew of an organization in Washington state that would certify him but needed something closer. He got the contact information for WAVES and found out that the WAVES Project would certify him and his wife as his dive buddy/caregiver.
He says “lt’s like turning a light switch from off to on. Diving reduced my anxiety. I’m calmer, more relaxed after diving”. He and his wife have now been together for 29 years; she says she can tell the difference immediately and will on occasion tell him to go get underwater!
Richard continues to progress in his pursuit of diving, currently working on his Dive Master Certification. He hopes to be more of a resource for WAVES, helping out with Open Water classes and occasionally in the WAVES Dive Shop. He promotes WAVES at every opportunity. Richard has been interviewed for print and TV, and has been featured in documentary videos.
In closing he says “The WAVES Project is simply wonderful. Everyone is so dedicated to helping Vets, it’s a blessing to be involved”