- The Washington Times - Friday, February 21, 2020

Marine Maj. William Easter says he felt a “moral obligation” to dive into an angry sea to save a pregnant Okinawa woman from drowning.

The officer spoke to Marine Corps Times this week about receiving the Navy and Marine Corps Medal — the service’s highest recognition for noncombat heroism — for his actions on Dec. 8, 2018.

Maj. Easter braved 35 mph winds and 10-foot high swells for roughly an hour after bad weather and a rip current took a couple by surprise.

The woman’s husband sought assistance along the Sunabe Seawall and the East China Sea after nearing exhaustion.

“I didn’t know what the victim’s state was, but I felt like I had a moral obligation to do something,” Maj. Easter said told the newspaper via email. “The water was dangerous, but I was confident in my skills and training.”

The officer used a flotation device, his training, and pure strength to keep the woman alive until help arrived — 300 meters out into water.

“After staying afloat for almost an hour, the first rescue craft arrived,” Marine Corps Times reported. “Because of the choppy sea and the size of the craft the boat capsized, sending Easter and the pregnant woman back in the water until a larger boat finally arrived and rescued them.”

The award ceremony for “courageous and prompt actions in the face of great personal risk” took place on Feb. 14.

“I am just a conduit for the training that my parents and my nation have invested in me,” the officer told the newspaper. “Any member of the military or public safety service would have done the same.”

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