Making Waves That Heal

WTU Force Structure Corporal Brendale Barnes aka "Breezy" takes the helm on the open waters (Photo courtesy of the Fort Drum Warrior Transition Battalion).

Mary Therese Griffin, Warrior Care and Transition


If water is considered a healer, then being on Alexandria Bay, in all its majesty, could be the equivalent of having the head doctor of the hospital at your beck and call. For eight recovering service members at Fort Drum, New York, an afternoon of boating brought together two nations and tore apart feelings of anxiety and distress.

Uncle Sam’s 2Nation Boat Tour partnered with the 3-85 Warrior Transition Battalion to offer a different setting for some adaptive reconditioning. In the beautiful waters between the United States and Canada, Soldiers and their families got an opportunity for more than just physical therapy.

Staff at the WTB feel that the water can be therapeutic and try to take advantage of places like the St Lawrence River and Alexandria Bay. These outings have come to mean a lot to the Soldiers, allowing them to take their mind off of everyday life and get out and interact with others instead of staying inside.

It’s not every day you get to steer a big boat. Soldiers were allowed to steer the boat through the bay relying on each other for direction. The view around the bay was priceless.

Enormous mansions fill the waterfront around the bay that also has as much history to tell as all the fish tales in the local pub. For Sgt. 1st Class Eric Ellis, of the WTB at Fort Drum, NY, it was a cherished and welcomed event. “It was a good experience I enjoyed the view and my family enjoyed the history lesson. Boldt Castle was awesome as well as other buildings and homes we viewed from the water.”

This therapeutic trip helped promote several of the six domains of the Soldiers’ comprehensive transition plan by helping them be, active and build confidence as well as self- esteem. It’s all done through the socialization, reconditioning and teamwork that can be achieved while being out on the water.

An afternoon making waves that heals the body, mind and soul.