Veterans Build New Army Of Divers In Shark-Infested Waters

Aug 16, 2013

Sgt. Sergeant Stephen Jackel dives for the first time with two prosthetic legs off the coast of West Palm Beach.
Credit Operation: Blue Pride

Once a warrior always a warrior.

For Sergeant Stephen Wayne Jackel Jr., who walks on two metal prosthetics below the knees - he’s found a new army to join after retiring from the United States Army at 34 years old. 

“We aren’t concerned about the army we’re going to build, it’s how long its going to take to build that army,” said Jackel Jr. 

Credit Operation: Blue Pride

That army being raised is not land-based brigade but a group of undersea soldiers, with severely injured veterans leading the way.

The effort is called Operation: Blue Pride, which trains emotionally and physically injured veterans to dive in waters off the coasts of Florida and the Bahamas for one reason: to bring awareness about overfishing, especially pertaining to sharks.

Jackel and two other vets will be featured in a documentary that is due out in the fall. By then, organizers of the non-profit organization hope to have trained more than a dozen more vets.