By Erika I. Ritchie, Orange County Register
Rudy Reyes, a retired Recon Marine scout sniper, dropped from helicopters during combat dives in the Persian Gulf.
He pulled dead Marines from the Euphrates River during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. He used his scout swimmer abilities to infiltrate small islands on the Euphrates during the Battle of Fallujah and set up strongholds for the Marines.
“It was challenging and very hard work,” said Reyes, 45. “To keep that edge — very few can do it. War is a young man’s game. A lot of brothers are struggling because there’s an emptiness when they get out. We can’t do what we used to do.”
But they can use those skills learned as wartime combat divers for the betterment of the planet.
That’s the concept behind Force Blue. The new nonprofit was created to take thousands of combat divers – veterans already trained by the U.S. Armed Forces – and put their skills toward coral reef conservation around the world. It’s not only a conservation goal, but an attempt at healing.