Wounded Veterans Find Healing

Two divers in wetsuits pose with all their gear prior to dive.

NPS Photo/Submerged Resources Center

The National Park Service Submerged Resources Center and Lake Mead National Recreation Area hosted divers from Wounded American Veterans Experiencing SCUBA (WAVES) Oct. 19-26.

The WAVES team along with experts from SRC and Lake Mead are working together to enhance recreational dive opportunities and evaluate submerged resources throughout the park.
 
Two divers release cloud of air bubbles as they explore underwater structures in a black and white photo.

NPS Photo/Submerged Resources Center

WAVES was established to provide an opportunity for American veterans with service-connected disabilities and their families to experience scuba diving. This dive was part of a multi-phased project to map an area that used to be an aggregate plant before Lake Mead was filled in the 1930s. The plant was built to sort and clean rocks for the concrete used during the construction of Hoover Dam.
 
3 participants pose for a photo during meeting on the lake.

NPS Photo/Submerged Resources Center


Steve Rubin, executive director of WAVES has shared with the park that preliminary studies have shown a single dive can help alleviate physical pain from injuries, PTSD and other symptoms for several weeks following a single dive.

WAVES divers have also shared with park staff how much it helps them to be part of a team and feel the camaraderie working on a mission with other veterans in a national park.
 
The team of divers pose on the deck of the dive boat on a sunny day before the dive.
NPS Photo/Submerged Resources Center
“This area of the park is a very popular diving location for recreational divers,” said Acting Lake Mead Superintendent Martha Lee. “We will use the data from our WAVES partners to create way-finding signs and accurate information about the history of the facility. We are proud of the work our SRC Team and WAVES volunteer divers are accomplishing for the park and for visitors."
 
Three team participants wearing orange flotation vests examine project information.

NPS Photo/Submerged Resources Center


U.S. Air Force Col. Mike Davis, vice-commander, 99th Air Base Wing, Nellis Air Force Base, also visited the wounded veteran team while they were working at Lake Mead to learn more about the program and to thank the veterans for their service to our country.
 
A group of 3 divers use their hands to follow a fixed rope down, releasing clouds of bubbles as they descend.

NPS Photo/Submerged Resources Center

The SRC works with Lake Mead National Recreation Area staff several times a year to also study and monitor other important submerged cultural resources including the B-29 Superfortress in Lake Mead and a historic aerial ferry in Lake Mohave.

Last updated: November 20, 2018

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