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Scuba Diving Program Helps Wounded Service Members To Adapt, Gain Confidence

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BALTIMORE (WJZ)– The war in Afghanistan may be coming to end but many soldiers will never be the same. More than 1,400 servicemen and women have lost limbs serving our country. Some of them are regaining their mobility in a unique and fun way.

Adam May has the story.

Far away from the sounds, the images and the memories of the war in Afghanistan, U.S. Marine Corporal Charles Stringer– a single amputee wounded in combat– takes a dive into the National Aquarium in Baltimore.

“It just clears your mind. You forget everything for a while and enjoy the scenery,” he said.

He’s part of a group called Soldiers Undertaking Disabled Scuba (SUDS).

Trainers at the aquarium encourage the divers to get up close with the animals, like the giant sea turtle missing a flipper, proving animals and humans can adapt to severe injuries.

“For me, I get to work these animals every day and it’s still exciting,” Andy Dehart of the National Aquarium said. “But to see these guys have this face-to-face encounter with these animals is really special.”

More than 200 wounded warriors have taken part in the SUDS program. Family members call it life-changing.

“My husband is being certified today. It’s a great program. I can’t thank them enough for the fact that he’s able to do these things,” Rebecca Gorsuch said.

For Corporal Stringer, this is his third dive and he anxious for the next.

“The guys take good care of you, help you get back on your feet when you’re down,” he said.

Even when those feet are gone.

The SUDS program relies on donations. To contribute and learn more, click here.

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