In the end we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught.
— Baba Dioum
How We Work
With dynamics that mirror those of a traditional military training program, FORCE BLUE will give former combat divers and Special Operations veterans a chance to learn about and explore one of the most critically endangered ecosystems on the planet and to adapt their training and teamwork to aid in its protection.
For the world’s coral reefs, FORCE BLUE will serve as both a teaching tool and a recruitment vehicle – a highly visible way to raise public awareness and enlist a new generation of dedicated, determined advocates.
In early 2017, the first Force Blue mission team, comprised of six (6) former Special Operations combat divers, each having served in Iraq and/or Afghanistan, will be run through a specially designed“ Coral Reef Special Operations School” on the grounds of Sunset House in Grand Cayman, the oldest continuously operated dive resort in the Caribbean.
Here, world-renowned marine scientists and celebrities will dive with the team and introduce them to every nuance of the fragile ecosystem. They will be trained in fish and coral identification, marine life patterns and behavior, u/w photography, lionfish culling and bioluminescent night diving. They’ll also learn about the value of coral reefs, the local and global stressors contributing to reef decline, ecological and social resilience and how scientists and policy makers are working to build the resilience of coral reefs.
World-renowned marine scientists and celebrities will dive with the team and introduce them to every nuance of the fragile ecosystem.
From there the team will redeploy to the island of Little Cayman and the Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI) where they’ll help scientists explore and record previously unknown reef locations where endangered corals thrive. Working alongside coral restoration experts, they’ll also learn how to successfully re-grow and transplant corals.
For its final “real world” evolution, the team will fly back to Grand Cayman where they’ll take what they’ve learned and put it to use, helping to rebuild a stretch of reef badly damaged by a cruise ship anchor in late 2015.
In subsequent years, (2017-2019) Force Blue plans to travel its training program, to marine hotspots around the world, offering bi-annual flights that will accommodate up to 20 veterans per year.
Buoyancy. Belonging. Betterment.
Three words that represent not only the FORCE BLUE creed, but what the program will deliver to each vet who participates. The tools to regain equilibrium. The ability to feel at home in an alien world. Proof that their skills and training can still make a positive difference, and that helping can be the antidote to harming.