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Navy identifies Marine who died in waters off Kaneohe

The Marine Corps has released the name of a service member who died Sunday after swimming offshore near North Beach on Marine Corps Base Hawaii.

A news release Wednesday identified the Marine as 22-year-old Pvt. First Class Isaac Romero, a member of Marine Wing Support Squadron 174.

Col. Speros Koumparakis, commanding officer at MCBH, has ordered a temporary closure of several beaches at the installation to conduct a review of beach safety procedures and risk management practices. The beaches will remain closed until May 4, 2022.

A friend of Romero’s sitting on the beach called the installation’s Provost Marshal’s Office at 2 p.m. on Sunday after he visibly lost sight of Romero. First responders arrived on scene shortly after.

Members Honolulu Fire Department, MCBH Water Front Operations, and local lifeguards began searching near Romero’s last known location — approximately 50 to 60 meters offshore. They found him under the surface in shallow water at 2:47 p.m.

First responders brought Romero ashore, where they administered life-saving measures. He was then taken by ambulance to Castle Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at 3:42 p.m.

According to the news release, at the time of the incident, Marine Corps Community Services Water Safety Office reported beach conditions were “yellow flag with 6-12 foot faces and winds gusting up to 20 miles per hour from the east northeast.”

“Our heartfelt sympathies and deepest condolences go out to Isaac’s family and friends, and we join them in remembering and mourning this Marine,” Lt. Col. Gideon Grissett, the commander of Romero’s squadron, said in a statement. “His enthusiasm and devotion to duty inspired others with his positive, upbeat attitude. We are grateful to have had the opportunity to know him and be a part of our Marine Corps family.”

According to the Marine Corps, Romero was a native of Ramsey, Minn., and enlisted in April 2021. He reported to Marine Wing Support Squadron 174 in December 2021 after completing training as a combat engineer.

Romero is the second service member to die at Kaneohe Marine base this month. On April 17, Lt. j.g. Aaron Fowler, a 29-year-old Navy officer assigned to San Diego, Calif., based Navy’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit One, died. At the time of his death, Fowler was in the third and final phase of the eight-week Marine Corps Reconnaissance Leaders Course, according to Navy Times.

Both Romero and Fowler’s are under investigation by NCIS and local authorities.

According to the Marine news release, the day before Romero’s death marked one year of service in the Corps. His decorations include the National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

A memorial service will be held on May 6, at the MCBH Chapel.

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