Force Blue divers
(Photo: Courtesy of Force Blue)

A new organization is taking on two seemingly unrelated issues – PTSD and marine conservation.

Ritterhoff: “The idea is to create this elite unit of former military-trained combat divers retooled and repurposed on a new positive mission to go out and help the planet.”

Jim Ritterhoff is co-founder of Force Blue.

Ritterhoff: “From the veteran side, it’s providing mission therapy for a group of guys who have spent the better part of a decade of their lives deployed in combat zones, and who are having real issues and struggles when they come back.”

Earlier this year the group deployed on its first mission: restoring a coral reef in the Cayman Islands. Seven veterans were taught to transplant pieces of living coral onto dying reefs. Ritterhoff says it was a resounding success.

Ritterhoff: “One of our Navy Seals said ‘You know, the thing I’ve been missing is the sense of doing something larger than myself, and now I have it again because I can see where advocating on behalf of these marine conservation issues. It’s something that I can make an impact on.’”

And as the world continues to warm, Ritterhoff says there will be no shortage of missions for these ex-military divers.

Reporting credit: Rosie Simon/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Daisy Simmons is a freelance writer and editor with more than 15 years of experience in research-driven storytelling. In addition to contributing to Yale Climate Connections since early 2016, she also...