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Maj. William Easter, left, a theatre security cooperation officer with III Marine Expeditionary Force, receives a letter of appreciation from Masaharu Noguni, the Mayor of Chatan, right, at the Chatan Town Office, Okinawa, Japan, Jan. 22, 2019. Mayor Noguni presented Easter with the award for aiding in the rescue of a pregnant woman who was a quarter of a mile away from the shoreline struggling to swim ashore. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Hannah Hall)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Hannah Hall

U.S. Marine aids in rescue of woman, receives award from town mayor

6 Feb 2019 | Story by Lance Cpl. Hannah Hall 10th Marine Regiment

CHATAN, OKINAWA, JAPAN- It’s a part of his weekly routine. Maj. William Easter drove to his favorite running spot, got out, took a knee and laced up his shoes. He stretched in preparation for his run by the sea wall in American Village, but Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018, was different. Just as he was taking his first steps he heard a man yelling out for help.

Swiftly taking action, he assessed the situation, noticing a woman struggling to keep afloat. At the risk of his own life, Easter swam a quarter of a mile in rough waters to aid a young, pregnant woman struggling to swim ashore. For over 30 minutes Easter helped the exhausted woman tread water until emergency services arrived, carrying Easter and the woman safely to shore.

The training the Marine Corps instills in every Marine at every level was the key to aiding the woman, according to Easter, the theatre security cooperation officer with III Marine Expeditionary Force. He was able to use his instincts and react without hesitation.

“That’s something that comes with being a Marine,” said Easter, a native of Beaufort, South Carolina. “When someone needs help, you use your training and you do something about it.”

As a humble leader within the Marine Corps, Easter did not expect to receive anything from his actions. He just let his training kick in and reacted to the situation accordingly.
After Easter’s heroic actions Masaharu Noguni, the Chatan Mayor, held a ceremony in his honor at the Chatan town office on January, 22, 2019. Easter received a letter of appreciation for his courage and heroism.
He’s a good Marine, stated Col. Bob Castro. He’s forward thinking, intuitive, and takes initiative.

“We train to be able to handle difficult situations, whether in combat or these kinds of life saving events,” said Castro, the assistant chief of staff for theatre security cooperation, III MEF. “His actions on the beach don’t surprise me, because that’s what Marines do.”