MARINE CORPS BASE, Hawaii (1/9/2012) — Two Marines with 3rd Marine Regiment were presented with the Navy and Marine Corps Medal during an award ceremony behind 3rd Marine Regiment Headquarters building Jan. 6.
Gunnery Sgt. Lawrence Bostic and Capt. Robert A. Christian are presented with the Navy and Marine Corps Medal during an award ceremony behind 3rd Marine Regiment Headquarters building aboard Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Jan. 6, 2012. They were awarded for their actions when they saved a drowning Marine at Pyramid Rock Beach, on May 21, 2009. Photo by USMC Lance Cpl. Jacob Barber
The medal is the highest decoration for non-combat heroism awarded to Marines and sailors. Gunnery Sgt. Lawrence Bostic and Capt. Robert A. Christian were both presented the medals for their actions on May 21, 2009, when they saved a drowning Marine at Pyramid Rock Beach at Marine Corps Base Hawaii.
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. Typically, service members awarded with this medal attempted to save a life by risking their own.
Col. Nathan Nastase, commanding officer, 3rd Marine Regiment, attended the ceremony to present the awards and speak on the Marine's behalf.
“These are great Marines who set the perfect example for 3rd Marine Regiment,” said Nastase following the ceremony. “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.”
When asked about saving a Marine's life nearly three years ago, Christian simply replied 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. “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.
He calmed the man and they started to swim back to shore.
However, while crossing back through the surf, Christian began to struggle himself. He fought the tide with the weight of the victim on his shoulders. Bostic, also spending the day at the beach with his family, made his way through the water after seeing both men struggling. He offered his body board to keep the victim afloat. Then Bostic and Christian assisted the man to shore and performed first aid until lifeguards arrived.
“I didn't want to see anything bad happen to anybody that day,” Bostic said. “I saw Capt. Christian in the water and immediately ran over there to assist him. We were just doing what we knew was right. That's it.”
When asked about being recognized, both men said they were just looking out for their own.
“It was an honor to be awarded,” Christian said. “But as Marines, it's embedded in us to watch each other's back and look out for each other. That's what they teach us since day one, and that's what happened during this incident.”
Bostic said he was just glad that everything turned out ok and nobody was injured.
“It's very humbling to know that our command is recognizing this and awarding us for it,” Bostic said. “I'm happy to have this award, but even more happy that the Marine turned out to be ok and nobody was hurt.”
By USMC Lance Cpl. Jacob Barber
Marine Corps Base Hawaii – Kaneohe Bay
Provided through DVIDS
Comment on this article