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Lifeguard saves Soldier from drowning

  • Published
  • By U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Dana Tourtellotte
  • 379th Air Expeditionary Wing

On Friday, July 8th at approximately 9:40 am in the Blatchford-Preston Complex gym swimming pool, a Lifeguard named Maesh Polabhagam Madu jumped into the pool and saved a drowning soldier’s life.

“I saw him swimming laps and he seemed to be doing pretty well teaching himself to swim”, said Madu, “but suddenly he let go of his flotation device for some reason, while still in water that was about 7 feet deep. He began to struggle to stay above water and went under twice when I jumped in to help him.”

Madu, an Other Country National (OCN), serves on base as more than just a lifeguard, but also as a swim instructor. He grew up in Karla in southern India, surrounded by water, in a community that uses boats to go everywhere, which is where he learned to become a strong swimmer and lifeguard.

“I recommend that if you do not know how to swim to begin slowly by practicing in water that not very deep, said Madu. “Take lessons to help you to learn in a place where you are being monitored, this is not the first person I have rescued in my three years as a lifeguard, or likely the last.”

“Often it seems like there’s a big difference between us as military members and our OCN’s , but this is a great illustration that here, at Al Udeid, we are really one team one fight,” said 1st Lt Kevin Derrickson, Flight Commander of Sustainment Services Flight, 379th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron. “The OCN’s are just as much a part of our mission success here, and saving lives, as our fellow military members.”