Four Marines from Marine Corps Base Quantico saved the lives of a father and son on the Potomac River in Nanjemoy, Maryland, June 14.
The Marines planned to spend the overcast Sunday relaxing on the water and having a picnic before the incident occurred.
Before leaving on the boat that day, Cpl. Quinn J. Hurt, a photographer with Marine Corps Base Quantico’s Communication Strategy and Operations section, went over safety procedures with the rest of the Marines.
“Whenever I take anyone out on the boat, I always give a basic safety brief, which people usually make fun of me for. But in this case, it definitely paid off,” said Hurt. “I tell them where the life jackets are, I tell them what we’re going to do in the worst case scenario, and I also instruct the basics of operating a water vessel, so if something were to happen to me they would be able to put it in gear and get out of the situation.”
When the Marines arrived at their desired destination, they noticed there was only one other boat nearby, which had a family onboard.
“They were jumping off the boat and screaming, having what looked to be a fun time,” described Cpl. Andrea Rosembert, an administrative specialist with the Officer Candidates School’s Installation Personnel Admin Center on base. “We took a second glance and noticed the situation was actually pretty serious. The people on the other boat were flailing their arms and shouting ‘hey!’ and ‘help!’”
Hurt said they quickly moved their boat closer to the family’s, being careful not to make any large waves that would further endanger the father and son struggling to stay afloat in the water.
Hurt donned a life jacket, jumped off the boat, and began to make his way toward the two individuals.
“I swam up to them, and clearly they were having issues swimming,” Hurt said. “The father’s head was bobbing underwater and he had a younger son who was holding onto him as tight as he could.”
Hurt introduced himself to the pair, instructed them to stay calm, and told them he was there to help. He then positioned his body underneath the father and son to keep both of their heads above water as he used his legs to bring them toward the boat.
As this was happening, Cpl. Webster Rison, a graphic artist also with Communication Strategy and Operations, also jumped in the water with the intention of bringing life jackets to the father and son, but the other Marines reached them first with their boat.
“Hurt has been teaching me how to pick up wakeboarders after they fall,” said Cpl. Kayde Becerra, an administrative specialist with The Basic School’s Installation Personnel Admin Center on base. “And so, I just thought to myself, ‘Why can’t we pick them up as if they were wakeboarders?’”
Once they reached the father and son, Rosembert and Becerra pulled everyone onboard, to include another son who was in the water, but was not struggling nor able to help.
The Marines then brought all three individuals to their boat to reunite with their other family members.
All four Marines noted how smoothly the rescue went. “We were all calm and collected,” said Hurt. “I would attribute it to the stresses the Marine Corps puts on you, where it forces you to remain calm under pressure.”
Hurt said participating in the Corps’ advanced water survival training, which involves learning rescue techniques, and the Marine Corps’ emphasis on planning also aided in saving the two individuals that day.
Marine Corps Base Quantico Communication Strategy and Operations reached out to the family for comment, but they did not respond to inquiries.