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Missing Marine’s body recovered

Date Posted: 2008-11-15

The body of an American Marine who went missing Sunday while snorkeling in waters off Maeda Point on Okinawa’s west central coast has been recovered.
Okinawa Police say the body of Private First Class Adam J. Harwood was found by Marines. Harwood’s body was spotted about 1:40 p.m. Wednesday, floating on the water near Maeda Point in the Onna Village area.
Search teams from local Okinawa police and fire departments, the Japan Coast Guard, and members of the Marines’ Camp Smedley D. Butler Provost marshal’s Office and Fire Department conducted search operations near Maeda point from shortly after the incident was reported Sunday until Harwood’s body was discovered. They were joined by Marine Corps Bases Japan and 1st Marine Aircraft Wing officials throughout the search, which was led by Japanese authorities.
The 29-year-old Harwood was snorkeling Sunday with a fellow Marine when winds and waves whipped up during a rainstorm. His 20-year-old friend told the Japan Coast Guard they’d been snorkeling about 100 meters offshore when the weather deteriorated and they were pushed underwater by the waves. He escaped to shore, but the other man did not.
Harwood, who’s hometown is Honolulu, Hawaii, arrived in Okinawa August 16th, where he was assigned as a warehouse clerk assigned to Marine Wing support Squadron 172, Marine Wing Support Group 17, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
In the wake of Harwood’s death, the Commanding General of III MEF and Marine Corps Bases Japan has ordered all III MEF and MCBJ military personnel to wear personal flotation devices such as snorkeling vests, skin diving horse collars or buoyancy control devices while snorkeling or engaging in skin diving activities. Lt. Gen. Richard Zilmer says the directive remains in force until further notice, suggesting further details and modifications to the order could come following a safety investigation into PFC Harwood’s death.
Marine Corps officials say snorkel vests can be rented at no cost from MCCS Tsunami Scuba stores at Camps Foster, Hansen, Courtney and Kinser. Children’s sizes are available. Further information is available from MCCS Tsunami Scuba, DSN 645-4206.

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