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Heroic Americans rescue local fisherman

Date Posted: 2002-01-24

Two servicemen from Kadena Air Base’s 18th Maintenance Squadron and a dependent spouse of a U.S. Army service member rescued an Okinawan man off the coast of Itoman City on Jan. 6.

According to SSgt. Shane Greigo, he and SSgt. Matthew Rockstad and Robert Childs were suiting up and checking their dive gear when they heard someone screaming in the water. “An elderly Okinawan fisherman was trying to make his way to the shore and fell off the reef into a tide pool, not knowing how to swim,” says Greigo. “We immediately responded by snorkeling out to him. He was standing on a rock in about 8 1/2 feet of water, and the water level was up just past his shoulders. High tide was rolling in so the tidal pools were filling fast. One of my dive buddies removed his BC/Tank Inflated, and the gentleman was able to use it as a makeshift floatation device. We then escorted him back to the shoreline, which was about a 40-yard swim.”

Itoman Police Chief Wataru Otake on Jan. 23 presented certificates of appreciation to the three men for their heroic deed.

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