When I was stationed in New Jersey at the Air Base Ground Defense course as an instructor, there were some major changes that took place in my life. It was a period of transition that I desperately needed. I was recently divorced, I was at a crossroads in my career, and I was starving for new adventure.
With a fist full of dollars I walked into a tour guides office on post, also known as Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) and asked what there was to do in the local area. The manager (Tina) directed me towards SCUBA diving since I had just finished the Army’s Underwater Infiltration Course enroute to my new station. (Yes the Army and Air Force have divers who focus on special tactics leveraging the aquatic world.
I loved the diving community in New Jersey and soon found myself taking more advanced classes all the way up to becoming a Dive Master and working for the local dive shop on various dive boats. I loved the technical part of diving deep ship wrecks from WWI and WWII, exploring local rivers and inlets for old bottles, and diving the dangerous jetties for lobster.
My experience in New Jersey eventually led me to becoming a contract evidence diver for several law enforcement departments, a scientific diver for the State of Texas, an Instructor (NAUI, SSI, PADI), and an underwater gardener.
Last night as I was swimming laps I remember that first initial freedom I felt underwater. I remember volunteering to clean the pool at McGuire AFB in exchange to get my air tanks filled and access. I could spend hours in that pool and it gave me an opportunity to work on my skills in a semi-controlled environment. I also loved the time I spent in local lakes and rivers while living in Texas. At one point in my life I was in the water everyday.
Diving holds a special spot in my heart and it was one of the greatest adventure periods in my life. I even proposed to Melissa under water. I have not donned a tank in five or six years, still I love the adventure of diving. I was fully consumed by it in so many ways. It is not currently the focus in my life but it gave me so many wonderful memories, friends, and opportunities in life.