8th MP Soldier saves drowning boy

| October 26, 2017 | 0 Comments

Pfc. Joseph Stone, a chemical/biological/radiological/nuclear (CBRN) specialist, with71st Chemical Company, 303rd Ordnance Battalion (EOD), 8th Military Police Brigade,receives the Army Commendation Medal during a ceremony on Schofield Barracks,Hawaii, Oct. 13.

Story and photo by
Sgt.1st Class John D. Brown
8th Military Police Brigade
Public Affairs

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Pfc. Joseph Stone, a chemical/biological/radiological/nuclear (CBRN) specialist with 71st Chemical Company, 8th Military Police Brigade, nervously stood before a formation of Soldiers and senior leaders, here, Oct. 13, to receive an Army Commendation Medal for his selfless actions that resulted in saving the life of a child in Waikiki.

On Sept. 3, Stone and his battle buddies were spending the Labor Day weekend at the Ambassador Hotel in Waikiki. This was Stone’s first weekend after completing Advanced Individual Training and in-processing at Schofield Barracks.

According to witness statements, Stone noticed a child submerged in the deep end of the swimming pool and he dove in with his battle buddy and pulled out the seemingly lifeless body of a 5-year-old boy.

“I checked his pulse and he had a faint pulse, but he wasn’t breathing,” said Stone. “At that point I did the head-tilt/chin-lift and administered two rescue breaths.”

While his buddy attempted to calm the child’s mother and keep the growing crowd at ease, Stone continued to administer aid.

Stone described the scene as chaotic, but his adrenaline helped him to focus on the task at hand.

“After the breaths, I rolled him on his side and began pumping his stomach to try to get him to push out the water,” said Stone. “After about 30 seconds of that, he coughed it all up and started to come to and realize that there were a bunch of people standing around.”

Stone said that after the child regained consciousness, they put him in his mother’s arms and she held him until emergency medical services arrived on the scene and transported the child to a local hospital.

“I’m just happy the boy woke up. I don’t want to think about what it would have done to that family, or my psyche, if things had turned out differently,” said Stone.

Stone, a native of Wenatchee, Washington, has been in the Army for less than year.

Before joining the Army, Stone had played college baseball, worked as a bartender at a country club and spent several summers working part-time as a lifeguard.

Sgt. Janiel Coombs, 71st Chem. Co., 8th MP Bde., first met Stone at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri, while attending Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Reconnaissance Vehicle training, before Stone moved to Oahu. He then became Stone’s team leader in September.

Coombs explained that Stone was one of only three Soldiers from his graduating class at Advanced Individual Training to attend the additional course going to his first duty station.

“During the course, Stone was highly motivated and I could see how much he wanted to learn,” said Coombs.

1st Lt. Jordan Shock also attended the training with Coombs and Stone. “It was my first time working with Pfc. Stone and I could tell from our initial meeting that we weren’t working with your typical (private first class). He’s a very bright individual and I could tell he had unlimited potential.

“While we were in the course, Stone found out that he was on orders to Hawaii, so I reached back to the unit and started talking to people to get him assigned to my platoon,” Shock added.

When asked if he was surprised to hear what Stone had done, Shock laughed and said that he probably should have been, but from what he had learned about Stone, it was something that was within his character.

“He happened to be in the right place at the right time, but it’s not always about being in the right place at the right time; it’s about taking the action and getting results,” said Shock.

“It sets a precedent of how any Soldier should behave on and off duty, exemplifying the Army values,” he continued.

Shock summed up Stone’s actions by saying, “This is the example to follow; there’s a 5-year-old boy that’s alive today because of the actions that he took. It exemplifies the Army values and is an example of what a true Soldier should try to be.”

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