Team CLAW’s founder Major Vivek Jacob served 14 years as a Special Forces operator. Post his training in the National Defence Academy and the Indian Military Academy, he volunteered for and successfully completed one of the harshest Special Forces selections in the world.
Over the years, while leading his Team into Special Ops missions, he experienced near-death situations on multiple occasions. This 14-year dance with life and death led him to begin exploring the nature of purpose and reality. His perception of what it meant to be ‘free’ began to evolve during a Special Operation mission with the United Nations in East Africa.
Major Jacob’s parachute malfunctioned mid-fall during a Combat Skydive in 2015. He escaped alive but suffered a spinal cord injury. During his recovery in a military hospital he met an Airforce officer, Flight Lieutenant Bhaduria, who was permanently paralysed in a freak accident and had spent the last four years in hospital on a wheelchair. They formed a bond of friendship over their days together. Flt Lt Bhaduria rolled up on his wheelchair one morning and asked Jacob if he could SCUBA Dive despite being waist down paralysed. The promise made in reply that day, set Jacob on a completely different life path. It became a guiding light of purpose and sowed the seed of what was to unfold.
Major Jacob voluntarily retired from the Army, left his Special Forces family and began a journey of peace and exploration.
Like a wild horse, running wherever it wants to, yet towards the pastures for the soul
As the vision deepened, members from the SF (Special Forces) Teams he had commanded and others, like the MARCOS (Navy Special Forces) he had met along his journey, began to join him. Outside. There were no words spoken. No permissions asked. No papers signed. Trust, the Special Forces brotherhood and a new kind of ‘hunt’ beckoned. The vision united and guided them as they set upon a path to serve humanity through peace, sharing and creation rather than war, division and destruction.
In Jan 2019, Team C.L.A.W was born. Each team member had been a crack soldier in the Army / Navy Special Forces and was highly trained with multiple specialisations in Mountaineering, Skydiving, SCUBA diving, Un-armed combat, Multi – terrain survival tech, Emergency Med Response, etc. Each team member had undergone some of the toughest selection, training and operational environments anywhere on the globe.
The Team united their energy and skills to teach their life skills to people with disabilities. Their focus being to ‘design and implement sustainable large-scale employment solutions’ for people with disabilities and the underprivileged, especially in the ‘Environment conservation and Sustainability’ space.
The birth of
Operation Blue Freedom
In Feb 2019, Team C.L.A.W gave life to ‘Operation Blue Freedom’ – A movement to express the powerful spirit and ability of people with disabilities. To evolve the perception of society towards who they are and what they are capable of. To secure their right to dignity. To exercise their ability to contribute value and inspire freedom. For all.
Operation Blue Freedom
For a year, the Team has travelled across the length of India and trained more than a 100 people, paralysed by spinal cord injuries, in Scuba diving. The first leg of the journey culminated with the Team taking a select group of students for their first dives in the open sea at the Lakshadweep Islands, India. People on wheelchairs, who were bound by the chains of gravity on land, were now free in water.
The Team started out with scratch. There was no money. Whatever little they could save up from their retirement benefits, they pooled and self-funded their entire year long journey. As many of the paralysed trainees did not have any means of livelihood, the team conducted all the training free of charge. At each step, they found themselves facing impossible odds matched only by their impossible dream. At each step they threw in whatever little they had and moved into the unknown. The dream always won. The Universe always stepped in. Magic always happened.
C.L.A.W - Hunting Freedom
‘Special Forces’ is an instinct. Every human being has it. It operates from a mind space where faith, self-realization, skill, brotherhood, ability and freedom, are, all rolled into love as the driving factors of focussed thought and effective action.
Over time, it develops into a razor sharp ‘Survive, Stabilize and Thrive’ mindset by enduring life’s extreme challenges, repeatedly, by chance or by choice.
Eventually realising that you can conquer. Anything. People who live on the cutting edges of humanity operate from this mind set. In this case people with disabilities, the veterans and skilled people and visionaries from across the world who are coming together to make this dream project a powerful reality.