An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


Mar 31, 2016

Cpl. Lester Cano shakes the hand of Col. Carl Cooper after being awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal for saving a U.S. Army parachutist that landed in the ocean and was trapped by coral and his own parachute. Cano is a native of Indianapolis, Indiana Cpl. Justin Fugate was awarded the same medal moments after. Cano and Fugate worked as a team on the rescue. The Marines are assigned to Headquarters Company, 3d Marine Regiment and were awarded by the regimental commanding officer, March 30, on Marine Corps Base Hawaii. On Dec. 15, 2015 a U.S. soldier was blown off course from his drop zone by high winds and parachuted into the Pacific Ocean north of the Mokapu Peninsula that forms Marine Corps Base Hawaii on the island of Oahu. Fugate and Cano were running through the area during their Corporal's Course small unit leader evaluation. They noticed people pointing towards the water and then saw the parachutist. They worked together to develop a rescue plan. Cano improvised a safety line and swam 100 meters out to establish himself as the anchoring relay halfway between the trapped soldier and shore. Meanwhile, Fugate and a lifeguard spent the next hour swimming to reach the soldier where they then freed him from the entangled cordage and retrieved him to the shore. Once ashore, Cano rendered first aid and Fugate assisted until emergency medical services arrived.

No camera details available.


Read More

This photograph is considered public domain and has been cleared for release. If you would like to republish please give the photographer appropriate credit. Further, any commercial or non-commercial use of this photograph or any other DoD image must be made in compliance with guidance found at, which pertains to intellectual property restrictions (e.g., copyright and trademark, including the use of official emblems, insignia, names and slogans), warnings regarding use of images of identifiable personnel, appearance of endorsement, and related matters.

No camera details available.