Veterans Voices: Veterans dive with sharks and rays at Ripley’s Aquarium

Veterans Voices

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW)- So often we hear about different ways veterans are coming together and dealing with post traumatic stress disorder.

At Ripley’s Aquarium, they may have come across one of the most unique ways yet.

“I went swimming with the rays and the sharks” said Air Force Veteran Gary Murray. “It’s a great experience.”

Believe it or not, these veterans are finding tranquility with sharks.

“This is about my sixth time doing it, said Murray, “and when you get in there, I was a little apprehensive about doing it at first, but when you get in there, you’re just so relaxed and in the moment, there’s nothing else going on except you being in there with the sharks and the rays. You forget about everything else.”

Once a month, Ripley’s Aquarium at Broadway at the Beach in Myrtle Beach opens the doors and the tanks to the Myrtle Beach PTSD Group. They’re made up of veterans with PTSD and traumatic brain injuries.

“We usually bring in four to six veterans for swim,” said Louis Krieger, the Myrtle Beach PTSD moderator, “and it’s totally awesome, from a psychological standpoint. The serenity and the peace that you have in that tank is really awesome.”

Also, as good as it is for the brain, for some it’s also good for the back.

“It kind of helps, I got a back injury, and I like it and float and take all that tension off my back,” said Marine Corps Veteran David Suber, “but it’s also nice and peaceful.”

The interaction with the sea life is one thing, but it’s also about sharing fish stories with their fellow veterans.

“It’s definitely nice to talk to the guys,” said Suber. “I’ve met quite a few veterans.”

“You know, it has a lot to do with everything of who you are and what you do and helps you makes you feel better,” said Murray. “Talk to other men and women who experienced some of the same things, it’s a good part of it.”

“And every time I go into that tank,” said Krieger, “I come out of there a different person.”

If you’re interested in this program, or getting in touch with the Myrtle Beach PTSD Group, you can email or call Krieger at or 843-489-2722.

Visit News13’s Veterans Voices website for more stories.

Also, be sure to join News13 at 9:30 a.m. on Veterans Day for our special broadcast of “Veterans Voices: Honoring Those Who Serve.”

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