CORONADO, Calif. (NNS) -- Two pilots attached to Helicopter Maritime Strike Weapons School Pacific (HMSWSP) were each awarded a Navy and Marine Corps Medal for their heroic efforts in saving a drowning man on June 9, 2018.
Capt. Matt Schnappauf, commander, HSM Wing Pacific, presented Lt. Christopher D. Cady and Lt. Michael T. Hatch with their awards.
The Navy and Marine Corps Medal is awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity with the U.S. Navy or the U.S. Marine Corps, distinguishes their self by heroism not involving actual conflict with the enemy, for acts of lifesaving, or attempted lifesaving, at the risk of one's own life.
“This just goes to show you that you never know when you will be called upon,” said Schnappauf, commander, HSM Wing Pacific. “Today was about recognizing a couple of junior officers for doing some phenomenal work while off-duty. Not only did they do a great thing by rescuing that man, but they also represented the Navy and the aviation community very well.”
Cady and Hatch were visiting Hawaii for an HSMWSP exercise when they noticed a man struggling to stay afloat in dangerous surf. Both men entered the water where they encountered strong waves, sharp rocks, and a physically demanding challenge. The two pilots were able to guide the individual out of the water and up a 25-foot cliff to safety.
“This all comes down to people understanding the dangers of water conditions while swimming in Hawaii,” said Hatch. “We found ourselves in a situation to where we were not going to let that man drown. But I couldn’t have done it by myself; without Chris (Lt. Cady), I might not have made it back that day.”
HMSWSP Helicopter Maritime Strike Weapons School Pacific provides standardized training, evaluation, and support to Helicopter Maritime Strike squadrons, instilling in them the confidence to be ready for battle, excel in all mission areas, and ultimately succeed in combat.
For more news from Commander, Naval Air Forces, visit www.navy.mil/local/airpac/.