Heroic First Responders on Okinawa Rescue 7 Marines

Rip tides are well known on Okinawa, and have often swept people out to sea. Whether it’s Marines rescuing locals, or Marines being rescued themselves, it’s a dangerous place. This week, the 11th Regional Japan Coast Guard, Nakagusuku Station, and members of the  Camp Schwab Fire Station  were honored by  Marine Corps Installations Pacific for their rescue of 7 Marines. Facebook Okinawa Marines

The Okinawa rescue

It was a bright, sunny day on Feb 15 when the Marines decided to go kayaking from Camp Schwab. Soon after they left, however, the wind came up and a rip tide sucked them out to sea near Ginoza. Marine firefighters were called at 10:14 a.m. that day.

U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. William J. Bowers and Sgt. Maj. Joy Kitashima, the commanding general and sergeant major of Marine Corps Installations Pacific, visited with members of the 11th Regional Japan Coast Guard (JCG) at the 11th Regional JCG Station in Nakagusuku to thank them for their heroic actions in saving the lives of seven Marines.

Three Marines paddled back against the tide, Johnson said. Another three made it to a small island, called Frog Rock, and the seventh, carried a little over a mile out to sea, was lodged atop a reef.

Two firefighters jumped on jet skis and raced out to the Marines, Johnson said. They were met by two rigid inflatable boats from the Japan Coast Guard, also based at Schwab. Together, they completed the rescue.

Stripes

The Schwab fire station reportedly responds to around 5 incidents per year, with this one being the 4th so far. No one was injured in this incident, a testament to the quick actions of the first responders. The Okinawa rescue was successful.

On April 9, Commander William Bowers awarded each of the 11 firefighters from Camp Schwab a ‘Commanding General Safety Award challenge coins.’ On April 13, Gen Bowers and Sgt Maj Joy Kitashima issued a letter of commendation to members of the 11th Regional Japan Coast Guard, Nakagusuku Station who helped rescue the Marines.

The commander of Marine Corps Installations Pacific, Brig. Gen. William Bowers, and Sgt. Maj. Joy Kitashima present a letter of commendation to members of the 11th Regional Japan Coast Guard, Nakagusuku Station, April 13, 2021, for their help rescuing seven Marines carried out to sea in February.
ALEX FAIRCHILD/U.S. MARINE CORPS

We have written several articles about the heroic actions of US Marines who jump in to thelp those who are sucked out by the rip tides around Okinawa.

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Featured photo: Members of the Camp Schwab Fire Station on Okinawa pose with the commander of Marine Corps Installations Pacific, Brig. Gen. William Bowers, far right, after receiving Commanding General Safety Award challenge coins. The firefighters helped rescue seven Marine carried out to sea in February. ZACHARY LARSEN/U.S. MARINE CORPS

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