The Wounded Warriors Wave Riders Association was founded by former Marine Capt. David Fletcher. After flying 178 combat missions over Vietnam and personally dropping nearly 2.5 million pounds of high explosives, he found himself becoming unable to deal with the awareness that some of the bombs he dropped would continue to kill or maim innocent civilians and wildlife for generations to come. A deep sense of guilt slowly paralyzed him and he withdrew into a life of isolation. He fell deeper into depression and came very close to taking his own life.
Footprints of Death: Cluster Bombs as Indiscriminate Weapons: Link
Fortunately, Capt. Fletcher sought help from the San Francisco VA hospital in 2008. After two years of one-on-one therapy, he was able to begin to function again. A house-sitting opportunity brought him to Maui where his first experience of paddle boarding and connecting with the Maui surf brought peace of mind and emotional freedom. He was free again as he rode the ocean waves on that magical morning in Aug., 2013. The thrill of catching and riding a wave replaced any negative thoughts and gave a sense of oneness with the ocean. There and then Capt. Fletcher resolved to make this healing ocean experience available to as many combat wounded veterans as funds will allow.