When you enlist in the military, it becomes a huge part of your life, even when you’re not on duty. The skills and training you receive can be incorporated into everyday life and can help others in need.
That was the case for four U.S. Navy Sailors, who were supposed to be having a relaxing day at the beach—but when lives were on the line, they realized they were in the right place at the right time.
Chief Petty Officer Aniahau Desha, Hospitalman Gaston Yescas, Petty Officer 1st Class Sheldon Lucius, and Petty Officer 3rd Class Joshua Essick were all in Florida on May 5 to compete in the 2018 Armed Forces Volleyball Championship.
Before the tournament, the men were just hanging out at Naval Station Mayport beach.
But soon, they got word that people were in distress.
“We’d just sat down, and some ladies [that] came up the beach were yelling for help,” Desha told Armed Forces Sports.
They informed the Navy officers that there were two girls 75 yards off shore, struggling in the waves.
Luckily, with their Naval experience, they were the perfect people to help. The four jumped into action and ran into the water to save the teenagers.
“They were in trouble, so we just ran into the water and got them,” Desha said.
They found the girls in the water; one of them was holding her unconscious friend.
Lucius pulled the conscious swimmer ashore while the others took care the unresponsive teen. Upon reaching the shore, they saw that she was in desperate need of immediate medical help.
“When we got on shore, as soon as I picked her up, I noticed that she wasn’t breathing,” Desha said. “There was no pulse.”
So the officers used their Naval training to save her life.
Desha and Yescas performed CPR on the unconscious swimmer.
“Since I’m a corpsman up to date with the CPR certifications and all, and I was also a lifeguard for eight years, this was honestly like a normal drill,” Yescas said. “I’ve been in a lot of incidents likes this.”
They continued to perform CPR until the emergency rescue team arrived and took over.
The victim survived, thanks to the officers’ quick actions.
The four men were praised for their heroics, both from their volleyball team and the girl’s family.
“Two teenagers are alive today as a direct result of [these Sailors’] quick thinking, bravery and composure under extreme pressure,” All-Navy Men’s Volleyball Coach Gilburto Bermudez said.
“It makes me feel great to hear that she made it out alive,” Yescas said. “Her mom sent us a message on Facebook to let us know that she was getting discharged, and that her daughter was going to write us a letter and send us a picture just saying thank you for what we did.”
The officers went on to compete in their volleyball championship, but no matter how they did, this was already a trip no one would ever forget.