Fort Shafter officer receives medal for heroism after dramatic Kauai ocean rescue

(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - An Oahu-based U.S. Army officer who risked his own life to save three tourists in waters off Kauai, including an 11-month-old infant, was presented the Soldier's Medal for Heroism on Tuesday.

Nearly four months ago, while vacationing with his family on Kauai, Major Andrew Downey was visiting the Queen's Bath landmark in the Princeville area when he witnessed the tourists get hit by a rogue wave and swept into the ocean.

Major Downey quickly jumped into action, diving into the tide pool and bringing all three individuals to shore.

"With total disregard for his own safety and no hesitation, Drew jumped 20 feet to get in the water and saved the wife, the mom, first," said General Robert Brown, who presented the medal on Tuesday. "She was in worse condition and got her out. Went back out, got the baby, brought the baby back. The father had found a rock, and Drew helped him negotiate his way back."

None of the three tourists suffered serious injury. Major Downey was not injured during the rescue attempt.

"I truly feel that a lot of people would have done the same thing in that situation," Downey said.

The Soldier's Medal for Heroism is awardded to sevice members for actions that "involve personal hazard or danger and the voluntary risk of life under conditions not invilving conflict with an armed enemy."

"What a great day when you can recognize a soldier for doing a heroic act.  That's a pretty darn good day," Brown said.

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