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Reflections from the Key West, Florida Scuba Challenge 2014

By William “Bill” Congleton

combat-wounded-congleton-chaise

The Combat Wounded Veteran Challenge tested me physically, mentally and emotionally. I was fortunate enough to bring my son on this trip. I wanted my son to see what teamwork and comaraderie is all about, and that there are other combat wounded veterans who are out living their life to the fullest, not letting the physical and mental strains resulting from combat stop us. During this I was reminded that we all have issues and it is up to us how we respond to our challenges. “Uncommon valor was a common virtue” best fits what I experienced.

combat-wounded-congleton-scubaMy path to recovery wasn’t the same as the other veterans. I did not recover at Walter Reed or Brook Army hospitals. I learned through this trip that it didn’t matter how or where I recovered, all that matters is that I am here and alive, at the end of it all we are the same with the same drive to keep pushing forward, not letting anything stop us. Combat Wounded Veteran Challenge has a motto “Wounded, not Conquered”. The 2014 Scuba Challenge has reminded me of this and as a bonus my son has seen this as well. Thank you CWVC.

One memory that will be with me forever was the underwater navigation course. We were teamed up with the SCUBAnauts to scuba 500 meters as fast and accurate as we could. combat-wounded-congleton-scubanaut I was teamed up with a Scubanaut who had won this challenge a couple times. I was determined to give everything I had to keep up.She was fast, pushing me and my abilities to the max. I pushed so hard that I had a panic attack. I felt comfortable pushing through knowing that I had a partner who could help me push past it all. The last couple minutes of the exercise I needed to share her oxygen because I had used up my air. At that moment when the intensity was high for me, I began to calm knowing that this is what trust and team work is all about.

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