News Icon

News: Heroes rescue stranded swimmers

Story by Spc. Lerone SimmonsSmall RSS IconSubscriptions Icon

Soldiers save stranded swimmers Spc. Lerone Simmons

Army Staff Sgt. Noe PerezMartir, an engineer assigned to 40th Infantry Division, Joint Task Force Guantanamo, recounts the events of Thanksgiving Day with Pvt. Ryan Curtis, military police assigned to the 66th Military Police Company, JTF GTMO, at Windmill Beach, U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Dec. 11, 2013. The two helped two victims separately who were struggling in the water within seconds of each other.

U.S. NAVAL STATION GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba – During the holiday season, troopers assigned to Joint Task Force Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, gathered with friends and comrades to celebrate at different GTMO locations.

On Thanksgiving Day, Army Staff Sgt. Noe PerezMartir and Army Pvt. Ryan Curtis crossed paths during a visit to Windmill Beach.

The two, assigned to units serving under the JTF - PerezMartir, an engineer assigned to the 40th Infantry Division working JTF Logistics, and Curtis, military police assigned to the 66th Military Police Company - sprang into action as they simultaneously spotted two swimmers, separated by a good distance, struggling to stay afloat.

With no formal swimming experience, but having 10 years of military training, PerezMartir rushed to the aid the first victim, about 50 yards from the shore.

“I heard the screaming and I just went in,” said PerezMartir.

Seconds after hearing the first cry for help, Curtis, who was already heading toward the first victim, sighted another swimmer struggling. He adjusted his course to get to the second swimmer.

Curtis, a former competitive swimmer as a student at Uintah High School in Utah, has only been in the Army for less than a year.

“I swam a lot in high school and was properly trained, but no matter the situation, it’s always good to have someone around, especially if something happens in the water," Curtis said.

After arriving on shore, they began to assess their casualties; like their military training prepared them to do on a battlefield.

Both victims were third country nationals, suffering from leg cramps. Both were thankful and able to walk away, nameless but grateful.

“The Army mentality is to aid someone who needs help,” said PerezMartir. “I usually just come to the beach on the weekends, and never expected anything like this to happen.”

Although unexpected, they considered their actions common sense.

“It was the right thing to do,” said Curtis. “I’m not a hero; I’m sure any other person would’ve done the same thing.”

Curtis was nominated by his command and selected to be the Motivator of the Week by Marine Sgt. Maj. Juan M. Hidalgo Jr., senior enlisted leader, JTF GTMO Command, for his actions.

Connected Media
ImagesSoldiers save...
Army Staff Sgt. Noe PerezMartir, an engineer assigned to...
ImagesSoldiers save...
Army Staff Sgt. Noe PerezMartir, an engineer assigned to...

Web Views

Podcast Hits

Public Domain Mark
This work, Heroes rescue stranded swimmers, by SPC Lerone Simmons, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.

Date Taken:01.02.2014

Date Posted:01.02.2014 15:25



Hometown:VERNAL, UT, US

More Like This

  • Naval Station Guantanamo Bay is the oldest overseas U.S. Naval base, the only base located in a country with which the U.S. does not maintain diplomatic relations, and is home to the Joint Task Force Guantanamo detention facility. All this information is easily found on the Internet, but there is another side to GTMO that is not as easily found by typing "Guantanamo Bay" into a search engine: The base is also a wildlife refuge, providing protection for a variety of fluffy and scaly creatures that do not have the chance to flourish on the rest of the island.
  • U.S. Navy Rear Adm. John W. Smith, Jr. assumed the duties as commander, Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO), from U.S. Navy Rear Adm. David B. Woods during a ceremony held today at U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay. U.S. Air Force General Douglas Fraser, commander, U.S. Southern Command, was the guest speaker at the ceremony.
  • When troopers work long hours during their shifts at work, sometimes coming home is part of their relaxation process. Luckily, the housing staff at Joint Task Force Guantanamo Bay provides the essentials that troopers need to help them relax at the end of the day.
  • When Tropical Storm Chantal churned towards Cuba earlier this week, the Joint Task Force Guantanamo operations center and logistics division kicked into full-steam-ahead preparations to protect the Troopers, JTF civilians and detainees who work and live within the JTF-GTMO, Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.


  • Army
  • Marines
  • Navy
  • Air Force
  • Coast Guard
  • National Guard




  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Youtube
  • Flickr