Blind airman lives underwater adventure

Posted: 04/06/2012 in all marine news

Bob Martin –

As he straps on his complex scuba gear in an Albuquerque swimming pool, Air Force Senior Airman Michael Malarsie is confident.

In previous classroom and pool sessions, he has learned where all the important parts are and how to assemble and operate them.

That’s really important because he has to do it all by touch. The Los Lunas native’s eyesight was taken by an improvised explosive device–a notorious IED– in Afghanistan.

It took months for him to recover from all the injuries and become mobile. Malarsie says he has not stopped moving since.

“After everything that had happened, I told myself, everything that I’ve ever wanted to do, every opportunity that I had passed up because I was too busy, I had too many things going on, I’m going to do it,” he said.

“Scuba diving is one of them.”

Michael’s ‘adaptive diver’ training and a new set of scuba gear are being provided by the national Dive Pirates Foundation.

The foundation selects several wounded veterans each year across America to train and equip. Stacey Minton, local Dive Pirates Foundation member and instructor at the New Mexico Scuba Center , feels Malarsie is a natural diver.

“The first time we had him underwater, I was amazed at how easy Michael caught on,” Minton said.

Dive Pirates instructors are specially trained to deal with all kinds of disabilities, and none of those disabilities are seen as barriers, she added.

Full story…



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