A second class cadet at the Coast Guard Academy has been honored for rescuing a three months pregnant woman from an icy river in Alaska earlier this year, the service academy's public affairs office has announced.
Michael Gilbert received the Coast Guard Achievement Medal for the act during a regimental review on Sept. 14. According to the Coast Guard Academy Parents Association, the rescue occurred on May 31 at the Little Susitna River in Alaska.
Gilbert was on leave at the time and had stopped to take photos with his father - a health services technician and chief petty officer in the Coast Guard - as well as his younger brother and a friend. The group heard screams of panic from around a bend in the river and saw that the woman was pinned against a rock in neck-deep water as her friend was trying to help her. Gilbert and his father went to her aid.
”I got there and he got there right after me,” Gilbert said in the academy's announcement. “I jumped out on one of the rocks, and he took her from under one armpit and I grabbed from the other one, and we pulled her out.”
Gilbert has received professional rescue and first aid training at the academy. Once the woman was out of the water, he and his father determined that she was in stable condition. She thanked the two men and left with her friend after drying off.
Gilbert is aspiring to be a search and rescue pilot after graduation from the academy.
"His moral character, quick instincts and willingness to set himself aside for the sake of others will no doubt serve him well in his future as a pilot and future leader in the U.S. Coast Guard," the announcement stated.