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Hawaii Marines awarded medals for saving man from drowning

By Star-Advertiser staff


Two Hawaii-based Marines were awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal last week for saving a drowning Marine at Pyramid Rock Beach at the Kaneohe Bay Marine Corps base in 2009.

Gunnery Sgt. Lawrence Bostic and Capt. Robert A. Christian were both presented the medals for their actions on May 21, 2009. The medal is the highest decoration for non-combat heroism awarded to Marines and sailors.

Christian said he was at the right place at the right time.

"I was just spending a day at the beach with my family when I heard somebody screaming for help," Christian said in a Marine Corps-produced news story. "At first I thought it was people playing around, but then I looked and saw a man struggling as if he was caught in a rip current. After that I didn't even think about it, I just ran into the water to get him out. "

Christian was the first one in the water to help the drowning man, according to the Marines.

While crossing back through the surf, Christian began to struggle himself with the weight of the other Marine on his shoulders, according to the Marine news story.

Bostic, also spending the day at the beach with his family, made his way through the water after seeing both men struggling, and offered his body board to keep the victim afloat. Both men assisted the victim to shore and performed first aid until lifeguards arrived.

Bostic, a Whitmire, S.C., native, is a wire chief with Headquarters and Service Company, 3rd Marine Regiment. Christian, a Huntsville, Ala., native, is a ground intelligence officer with Headquarters and Service Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment.

The Navy and Marine Corps Medal is awarded to those who distinguish themselves by heroism not involving acts of conflict with an enemy, the Marine Corps said. Typically, service members awarded with this medal attempted to save a life by risking their own, officials said.

Col. Nathan Nastase, the commanding officer of the 3rd Marine Regiment, attended the ceremony Friday to present the awards.

"These are great Marines who set the perfect example for 3rd Marine Regiment," Nastase said. "The heroic actions carried out by these two men displayed the true meaning of being a Marine on and off duty. They are a great example to follow not only in this regiment but in the entire Marine Corps."

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