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Navy SEAL Awarded Medal For Saving Three Children From Rip Current

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Navy SEAL Awarded Medal For Saving Three Children From Rip Current

A US Navy SEAL has received the highest non-combat honour that can be bestowed upon him after rescuing three children from a rip current at sea, while their father died trying to save them.

The East Coast USA based armed forces member - who can't be named because of operational security concerns - was given the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for his bravery after he saved the three children at Atlantic Beach in North Carolina.

With little thought to his own safety, he swam out into a rip current to save one of the children before returning to the dangerous ocean to get the other two kids who had been kept afloat by their dad.

However, by the time he got there, the father - a 38-year-old teacher called Ernest Foster II - had disappeared.

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Ernest Foster II. Credit: Carrons Funeral Home
Ernest Foster II. Credit: Carrons Funeral Home

The Navy SEAL has since paid tribute to the father, and said that he has been mischaracterised on social media since the incident. He maintains that the man died a hero, trying to protect his children.

The SEAL was already on edge about his trip to the beach, as six people had died there already this year, and - in fact - he and his wife only decided to bring their kids there at the last minute.

Upon arrival that the beach, the SEAL spotted three children in the sea who appeared to be in trouble.

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He recalled: "These kids stuck out to me because they were playing just a little deeper than any of the other kids.

"There weren't lifeguards on the beach, and the red flag for rip current was up so not many people were in the water, and if they were, they were only knee deep, so they had my attention."

As he and his family got settled on the beach, he started to feel more strongly that something was wrong, and saw the boys dive into a wave before starting to drift out to sea.

That's when he intervened.

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Atlantic Beach, North Carolina in 2018. Credit: PA
Atlantic Beach, North Carolina in 2018. Credit: PA

He continued: "My first thought was, 'Is this happening after we talked about it for the last two days?'

"On top of that, I've never seen anyone drown. I've heard stories, I have a lot of training when it comes to life-saving techniques, but I had never seen it in person."

"The kids had been in the water anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds, and that's when I saw their father bolt into the water,

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"That's when I knew that the situation was bad."

With the distraught father screaming for help, he headed for the water, instructed his wife to call 911, and took a boogie board out.

After helping the father and two of the boys, he set off for the third. After getting the boy - who was suffering from lack of oxygen - to shore, he returned for the other two.

However, when he asked them where their father was, they didn't know.

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The SEAL said: "I was the only one who saw everything from start to finish,

"The reports painted him [the father] as someone who was swimming in a red flag rip current with his kids.

"'People on social media just trashed this poor guy and all reports failed to mention his true actions that day. A hero who died saving his family."

The bravery medal. Credit: US Navy
The bravery medal. Credit: US Navy

"I was able to set the record straight and was asked to speak at his funeral.

"We were able to make his funeral a celebration of his bravery and sacrifice because he was a hero.

"The man died saving his children; he was a hero."

He's still in contact with the mother of the family, and was awarded with the medal on 22 September.

Rear Admiral H. W. Howard III, commander of the Naval Special Warfare Command, said: "It was an honour to recognise the actions of one our teammates.

"His problem solving, grit, and humility is powerful testimony to our standard for character and service that we - the men and women of Naval Special Warfare - aspire to serve each day."

Featured Image Credit: US Navy

Topics: Inspirational, US News

Tom Wood
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