Coast Guard awards prestigious Life Saving Medal for heroic actions on the North Carolina Outer Banks

Cmdr. Kevin Barres, Sector Humboldt Bay response officer, reads the Silver Lifesaving Medal award citation during a Sector all hands while Petty Officer 3rd Class Brent Alexander and District 11 Chief of Staff Capt. Matthew Gimple display the award June 2, 2016. Alexander, without regard to personal safety, spotted a light on the water and entered rough ocean surf, swimming nearly 400 yards through strong Atlantic currents to rescue a 32-year-old male kayaker from drowning Oct. 4, 2014. U.S. Coast Guard photo

Cmdr. Kevin Barres, Sector Humboldt Bay response officer, reads the Silver Lifesaving Medal award citation during a Sector all hands while Petty Officer 3rd Class Brent Alexander and District 11 Chief of Staff Capt. Matthew Gimple display the award June 2, 2016.  U.S. Coast Guard photo

MCKINLEYVILLE, Calif. — The Coast Guard awarded a Silver Life Saving Medal during a ceremony at Coast Guard Sector Humboldt Bay Thursday.

The Silver Lifesaving Medal was presented to Petty Officer 3rd Class Brent A. Alexander, an aviation maintenance technician  currently assigned to Sector Humboldt Bay, for heroic action while rescuing a drowning man off the North Carolina Outer Banks October 2014.

During an evening walk along the shoreline while off duty Oct. 4, 2014, Alexander, an airman at the time of the rescue, observed a kayak adrift offshore. A man approached Alexander and explained that his son had fallen out of the kayak and was drifting in the ocean with only the light of a cell phone to signal his position as the evening got darker. Alexander, without regard to personal safety, spotted a light on the water and entered the rough ocean surf, swimming nearly 400 yards through strong Atlantic currents to rescue the 32-year-old male kayaker from drowning. His decision to quickly respond to the potentially deadly scenario prevented a family’s tragic loss and helped ensure the safety of the North Carolina Outer Banks community.

The Silver Lifesaving Medal was established by Act of Congress, approved June 20, 1874. It is awarded by the Commandant of the Coast Guard to any person who rescues, or endeavors to rescue, any other person from drowning, shipwreck or other peril of water.

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