Lovely report from Jess Eagan, part of the Defence Medical Services Diving Team of the effects of the dive on the WIS funded by DDMT.
"For all involved, Ex RED SERPENT was a resounding success. The opportunity to be part of such a venture was a true privilege; a culmination of medical professional skills, harnessing the innate adventurous spirit of the military, and catalysing this with an enthusiastic group of individuals. Every participant of Ex RED SERPENT was bowled over by the remarkable support that DDMT provided. It is without doubt that such a generous donation launched the expedition concept into reality, and it was with incredible honour and pride that we wore the DDMT logo on our sleeves throughout the week."
Scroll down for more of Jess's report after the photographs:
"On Sunday the 29th of November, as most of Britain was donning bobble hats and gloves, stocking up on mince pies, and venturing into the attic to retrieve boxes of Christmas decorations, a gaggle of military personnel met at London Heathrow loaded up with bags groaning full of sunglasses, sunblock and copious items of neoprene clothing. The destination: Sudan, the reason: Ex RED SERPENT."
"Ex RED SERPENT, a Defence Medical Services Dive Club expedition, was run with the primary aim of facilitating the participation of Wounded Injured Sick (WIS) personnel into diving as adventurous training (AT), and secondarily to introduce members of the DMS cohort (from a range of professions; nurses, physiotherapists, doctors) into AT, with the associated exposure to challenge and adventure that this brings. The combination of these two objectives had a tertiary benefit; the unusual reward of socialising a professional medical cohort with individuals they have previously known as 'patients'. For all involved it was a realisation of the military rehabilitation journey to the advanced end state, in this case high level AT."
"AT as part of the rehab process is well recognised. The tangible benefits of functional utilisation of injured limbs, exercising to promote physical fitness, and building the coordination to master new skills are apparent to most. However, for many injured military personnel, it is the personal benefits that make the lasting impact. Facing challenges to once again test courage, socialising and interacting within a military environment, and being pushed to realise potential beyond their perceived limits may go unnoticed to the observer, but are just as vital to the recovery process."
"Lying in a hospital bed three weeks post injury, unable to perform the simplest of functional tasks independently, and with his horizons drawn down to his surrounding bed space, JJ first heard about the fledgling plans for a DMS and WIS diving trip. "Like any good JNCO I nodded and said, 'sounds great, sir', but, in reality I was thinking 'not a chance'", he recalls. At this point brushing his teeth or scratching his nose were the end goals, not swimming with sharks, exploring wrecks or navigating coral reefs.""
"Diving was the first venture I chose to partake in post injury. It wasn't part of my rehabilitation, it wasn't advised by my medical team, and no one forced my hand" - for JJ it was the first step back to the adventure and adrenaline that had coursed through his veins as a Marine. Moreover, being surrounded by DMS personnel allowed the return to the camaraderie that defined his military service "I don't need to explain where I've come from, or what it's taken to get here. The team are on the same wavelength, it's effortless"."