A Master Diver's Survival Tales
by Rick Bettua, Rob MacGregor
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Pub Date 17 May 2022 | Archive Date 31 Mar 2022
Rick Bettua should be dead. Many times over. The retired U.S. Navy Master Diver suffered a devastating attack by a twelve-foot bull shark that shredded his thigh from his knee to his hip. By the time he reached the shore ninety minutes later, he’d bled out, he had no pulse and wasn’t breathing. Yet, emergency medical workers didn’t give up. His miraculous recovery in late 2020 was just the most recent of his numerous underwater life-and-death experiences.
BREATHE is Rick Bettua’s survival/adventure story. It’s also a story about perseverance against great odds, and his impressive skills to solve problems—and even save lives--under extreme conditions. It begins and ends with the shark attack and his recovery that defied the odds.
In between are fifteen other stories in which Bettua narrowly escaped death during his remarkable thirty-two-year Navy career. In one instance, in a search for a lost piece of a ship’s propeller, he was buried alive seventy feet below the surface and under twenty feet of mud when a tunnel collapsed. When he finally worked his way free after two hours, he then completed the task, so no other divers would be endangered.
The first-person narration takes the reader through Rick Bettua’s evolution as a diver from a kid spear-fishing to one of the elite Navy Master Divers. He never wasted time to achieve a goal. He started spearfishing when he was just ten years old, then entered the Navy when he was seventeen.
Because he loved diving and it was also his hobby, he moved ahead rapidly in his career. He became a Master Diver only one year after becoming a Chief Petty Officer. He achieved the highest rank possible for an enlisted sailor, Master Chief, at age thirty-three, one of the youngest ever to attain that rank.
But Bettua’s promotions never kept him out of the water--or out of perilous circumstances. His skills, his fearlessness and his perseverance helped him survive time and time again throughout his career, and beyond it.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 4 members
This was a wonderful book. Very well written. I felt like I was right there with Mr. Bettua as he told his fascinating story.
An absolutely fascinating book that I could not put down. Rick Bettua tells the story of his career as a US Navy Master Diver and, more importantly, the overarching story of being a survivor in the face of some of the toughest circumstances imaginable (or unimaginable, as they were). The stories of diving in the Navy were totally riveting and shed light on an underappreciated part of the military that takes at least every bit of skill and bravery as the celebrated parts.