Back in April of last year, Marines were finishing a 35-minute recreational dive with some Marine Corps officers at Onna Point, Okinawa. As dive conditions were getting worse, some of the Marines noticed several other divers who appeared to be in distress.
Supply Officer 1st Lt. Aaron Cranford of 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion was finishing up with fellow Marines, made sure his dive group made it back to shore safely, then went back out to help those in distress. Without regard to his own safety, Lt. Cranford went to the most distressed diver first and brought him back to shore before going back out two more times to rescue two others.
Beach onlookers were warned to stay out of the dangerous surf and one got caught in a riptide. According to an article in the Marine Times, Lt. Cranford “returned to the surf zone for the last time and placed the man on top of himself to keep him buoyant and away from the coral reef as he guided him to the shore, sustaining cuts and abrasions due to being raked across the coral reef.”
For his actions that day, this past Monday Lt. Cranford was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal – the nations highest non combat honor for bravery in Okinawa, Japan.
The rare medal was established in 1942, and is considered higher than a Bronze Star and just below the Distinguished Flying Cross in order of precedence. Only about 3,000 have been awarded and its first recipient was President John F. Kennedy for his command of Torpedo Boat PT-109 during World War II. It is often awarded for heroism but it’s not necessarily a lifesaving medal. To be considered for award, the act involved very specific life-threatening risk to the awardee.
A very special Oorah! for Lt. Cranford for his incredible service and bravery.
(H/T Suffer for this story)
God bless all our Troops and Veterans, and thank You all. Have a safe and blessed day.