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Hawaii Air National Guard member swept out to sea in Guam presumed dead

  • COURTESY MASTER SGT. SCOTT STURKOL

    Hawaii Air National Guard Master Sgt. Greg Ramos, left, was swept out to sea in Guam on Nov. 21. He is pictured here in 2010 with his brother, then-Staff Sgt. Gavin Ramos, on a deployment to Southwest Asia.

A Hawaii Air National Guardsmen who was swept out to sea last week on Guam and is presumed dead was identified by officials today as Master Sgt. Greg Ramos.

Ramos, with the 154th Logistics Readiness Squadron, 154th Wing, was temporarily assigned to Andersen Air Force Base supporting a KC-135R refueling tanker rotation, the Hawaii National Guard said.

Ramos is the second Hawaii-based airman to die in connection with Guam’s waters in two months time. Capt. Jeffrey “Bull” Braden, 28, an active-duty F-22 Raptor pilot, was found unresponsive at San Luis Beach on Sept. 23 and later was pronounced dead, the Air Force said.

The 36th Wing at Andersen said the base fire department, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam, Guam Fire Department and Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25 were alerted to a missing swimmer off Tarague Beach around midnight on Nov. 21 and responded with extensive search operations until Saturday.

Ramos was presumed dead after the six days of search efforts with no evidence of death or remains found, the command said. The cause of death is under investigation, the 36th Wing said.

“We are extremely saddened by this loss,” Brig Gen. Douglas Cox, the 36th Wing commander, said in a release. “Our thoughts and prayers are with family, friends, team mates and everyone affected by this tragedy.”

Cox also said the waters off Guam “are beautiful and inviting but can be dangerous at times.” Tarague, Serena and Scout beaches on Andersen are closed until further notice, the command said.

Ramos’ family said on a GoFundMe page created to send family members to Guam to be closer to the search mission said Ramos, known as “Hoku,” went swimming with friends at Tarague Beach on Andersen.

“The ocean suddenly became rough and the group swam back to shore. All but one did not make it in, and that was our Hoku,” the page said. As of today, nearly $14,000 had been raised, surpassing the $8,000 goal.

A 2010 Air Force story noted the deployment of Ramos and his younger brother, Staff Sgt. Gavin Ramos, to the same air base in Southwest Asia with the Hawaii Air National Guard. The story said the brothers’ hometown was Kapolei. Greg Ramos had already been in the Guard for more than 15 years at the time.

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  • This was a very tragic but avoidable death. The beaches at Anderson Air Force are the most beautiful on Guam, but the water within a very short distance of the shore is the most dangerous on the island because of a sharp drop off at the reef’s edge and strong rip currents which are not visible even during the day and in calm weather. It is mind numbing to think that anyone familiar with the beach would go swimming there at night.

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