Marine 1st Lt. Aaron Cranford saving the world

| January 9, 2018 | 25 Comments

According to Stars & Stripes, Marine 1st Lieutenant Aaron Cranford, of Headquarters and Service Company, 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion in Okinawa was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for his rescue of three divers on April 23, 2017 while the group was diving near Mermaid Grotto in Manzo-Mo, Okinawa.

“I owe him my life man,” [Justin] Kinjo said after Maj. Gen. Craig Timberlake, 3rd Marine Division commander, pinned the medal on Cranford’s chest. “If it wasn’t for him, all of us would be dead. My kids wouldn’t have been able to enjoy Christmas as a family.”

[…]

Cranford said he was honored by the award but shrugged off the praise. He credits the emergency rescue diver course he took at Texas A&M with preparing him to make the rescue and God for placing him in the right place at the right time.

“It’s just a gut reaction,” he said. “You know what to do and you go do it. I didn’t really ever take into consideration whether it was a threat to myself or not … receiving the award really comes down to honoring those who trained me and are still investing in the lives of others.”

Kinjo sees it differently. Both he and his sons see Cranford as a hero, and they plan to return to Camp Schwab to thank him again.

Category: Marine Corps

Comments (25)

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  1. OldSoldier54 says:

    ” … didn’t really ever take into consideration whether it was a threat to myself or not … ”

    There you go. Making the Corps shine!

    Well done, Brother!

  2. AndrewRink says:

    Nice to see a feel-good story coming out of Okinawa for a change. BZ!

  3. Ex-PH2 says:

    Good news about a very good young man.

  4. 26Limabeans says:

    Right guy with the right training.
    Getting to be a regular feature here.

  5. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    Courageous, and humble….

    receiving the award really comes down to honoring those who trained me and are still investing in the lives of others.”

    Please run for office when you end your time in service, some courageous, honest, and humble legislators are urgently needed in DC….

    Great job young man, amazing effort and amazing courage to just ignore potentially bad outcomes and do what you’re training taught you.

  6. Hondo says:

    Well done, Lieutenant. Kudos.

  7. Wilted Willy says:

    BZ Marine! I’m sure we won’t see the story on CNN, the Clintoon News Network! You make us all proud!

  8. IDC SARC says:

    BZ!

    Celer Silens Mortalis

  9. The Other Whitey says:

    The right guy in the right place at the right time is a common miracle rarely recognized as such.

  10. FuzeVT says:

    First things first – awesome job Marine!

    2 – I’ve been diving there. It’s beautiful but as with most diving, it is unforgiving. Our instructor told us of a airman who went diving there who did not turn his air on (not as difficult to overlook as you would think). He had no air in his BCD and once he hit the drop off, he plunged down and couldn’t get it turned on in time and died.

    3 – I had a comm chief named Aaron Cranford. Great guy and now a MGySgt. He loved Oki, too, but is now in Camp Lejeune. Not really relevant but at first glance at the story I saw the name and went, “Huh??!!”

    • NHSparky says:

      Concur. Diving in warm clear water makes tourists turn their brains off.

      Learning to dive in Hawaii and having dove in many places in many conditions, you take NOTHING for granted.

      And if you can get Open Water certified, you can make the minimal time and money investment to get Rescue Diver certified, I don’t care if it’s through PADI or NAUI, just do it.

    • mr. sharkman says:

      ‘airman who went diving there who did not turn his air on (not as difficult to overlook as you would think)’

      Basic, basic, basic diving pre-check failure.

      • FuzeVT says:

        Indeed

        But probably not difficult to forget for those people somewhere between total noobs and those who are experienced enough to have seen lots of “experienced divers” kill themselves.

  11. MCPO NYC USN Ret. says:

    I am a Navy man, but I love the USMC.

    BZ Lt.

  12. Jeff LPH 3, 63-66 says:

    A very big BZ MARINE

  13. Graybeard says:

    “the emergency rescue diver course he took at Texas A&M”

    Gig ’em, Aggies!

    I taught various levels of ARC First Aid, CPR, and AED usage for many years. I can tell you that hearing that one of your students used their training to save a life is one of the best feelings in the world. This Aggie Marine has made his instructors proud.

  14. MustangCryppie says:

    Bravo Zulu, LT!

  15. mr. sharkman says:

    If you are going to get certified as a civilian in the US, go for the NW or NE coasts, the colder and rougher the water the better.

    The Grotto is pretty but ill-named from a risk/safety perspective.

  16. propsguy says:

    Swimming…saving 4 people….ONE at a time….

    I can’t even imagine it.

    His pt scores must be ridiculous.

    Are we sure the Marines didn’t give him the Captian America serum in a secret experiment. 😀

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