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Wounded Warriors dive into Ocean Therapy Program

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON — Marines with Wounded Warrior Battalion West did not let their injuries slow them down as they took part in the Ocean Therapy Program hosted by a local foundation at Camp Del Mar’s beach, Camp Pendleton, July 20.

Ocean Therapy sessions are held on base each year, and provide the Marines with an opportunity to learn to surf in an encouraging atmosphere, while focusing on the therapeutic benefits of the ocean.

“This type of physical therapy is exactly what we need,” said Lance Cpl. James Grove, a participant of the therapy session. “I would have never thought that having so much fun could be considered therapy.”

Before the Marines took to the waves, a team of volunteers ranging from mental health professionals to professional surfers held a group discussion to get familiar with the Marines.

During the discussions, Marines, instructors and volunteers explained their particular situation and expressed what they are hoping to accomplish from the program.

“It’s very important that we talk with the Marines, get to know them and figure out what areas they need assistance in,” said Carly Rogers, creator of the Ocean Therapy Program. “Each year I am so impressed with the progress these Marines achieve; it’s almost as if they’ve been surfing their whole lives.”

In order to better prepare the Marines for cutting up the waves, they are first taught the basics of surfing on shore. Then, they applied the fundamentals in the water with a personalized surf instructor.

“There is just something about being out there in water that makes all my troubles go away,” said Groves. “When I’m on my board nothing else matters except how much fun I’m having.”

To conclude the affair, everyone gathered around for another group discussion and spoke about what they have learned and where they can improve.

“I believe we are healing others and ourselves, one wave at a time,” said Nancy Miller, program coordinator.

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