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NEWS | Nov. 3, 2022

Hawaii-based U.S. Marine Awarded for Saving Life of Woman Swept Off Cliff into Ocean

By 1st Lt. Erin Scudder 3rd Marine Division

MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII -- Cpl. Robert Farmer was enjoying Labor Day last year, at China Walls Coastal Cliffs, when he observed a giant wave knock a woman off the side of a cliff. Without hesitation, Farmer dove off the cliff into a dangerous ocean swell and swam toward the woman.

“I saw the wave sweep her off. I thought she was stuck on the rocks at the base of the cliff. She wasn’t there. When I spotted her stuck on the coral, I thought to myself, alright, I need to get there,” Farmer said. “There was a large swell, the conditions were rough, but I had to help, so I jumped.”

Farmer fought through aggressive waters to reach the woman and pull her to safety. After reaching the base of the cliff, Farmer and a surfer were able to carry the injured woman to the top of a hillside where Lance Cpl. Elizabeth Prevette with 3d Littoral Logistics Battalion provided first aid while Farmer guided the paramedics.

“We put her down on the sand and made sure that she did not have any spinal injuries. We had her wiggle her fingers and her toes to make sure that she had feeling in all of her limbs and extremities.”

As an experienced white-water kayaker, Farmer knows what it is like to be trapped in the water.

“I’ve been there before; I know how scary it is. I’ve been there when others have helped me, I’ve been there when I had to help myself. Having someone by your side makes the situation 100 times more bearable, it gives you a little bit of hope and assurance.”

Cpl. Robert Farmer, a Small Arms Repair Technician with 1st Battalion, 12th Marines, 3d Marine Division and a native of Richmond, Virginia received the Navy and Marine Corps Medal Nov. 2, 2022 for heroic actions.

The Navy and Marine Corps Medal is the highest non-combat award for heroism awarded to members of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.

"I am extremely humble in receiving this prestigious award, and I would like to recognize Lance Cpl. Prevette for her actions that day as well. She performed well under pressure and helped provide necessary first aid. I believe as Marines we are trained to help people in need, no matter the time, place, or circumstance. I am thankful I was able to have a positive impact in this situation." said Farmer.

Col. Jonathan Sims, 12th Marines Commanding Officer, served as the presenting officer.

"We are all very proud of Cpl. Farmer. He put himself in harm's way and saved a life that would have otherwise been lost,” said Sims. “His actions were consistent with our core values and embody the exact behavior we've come to expect of our Marines.”

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