Readiness Beyond the Mission

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Joao Marcus Costa
  • 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Nathaniel W. Stedman, 35th Security Forces Squadron base defense operations center controller/patrolman, recently received a coin for his quick response time and acting beyond the call of duty during a visit to Lake Ogawara.

During a Cub Scout campout, Stedman noticed about 20 kids who were playing in Lake Ogawara.

He overheard a few kids joking about a drop-off in the water and became aware that there was a potential risk.

Suddenly, he saw a child struggling to stay afloat and immediately realized what was happening. Stedman instantly took action and ran into the lake to pull her from the sudden drop.

"At that point, it was like her fingertips were at the top of the water. I had to pull her up," said Stedman. "I didn't want her to be scarred from water."

Jason Wysong, a Cub Scout master, was at the campout with Stedman when the incident occurred.

"I didn't see him go into the water, but I turned around and he was holding up one of my Cub Scouts and she was crying, and he was soaking wet," said Wysong. "We asked what happened, and he's like, 'you know, she went underwater so I grabbed her.' It wasn't even a think-about-it thing, he held his camera up, reached in and grabbed her out of the water. It was pretty neat to see someone respond like that. One of the things that needs to be noticed, you know?"

Wysong got in contact with Stedman's leadership and informed them of what had happened.

On July 1, 2021, Stedman walked into the 35th Fighter Wing conference room to give a security brief, but to his surprise he was awarded a coin for his selfless act.

"If anybody would have been where I was, and saw what I saw, I would expect the same thing," said Stedman.

Since this incident, Wing Safety has posted warning signs about the drop-off until permanent changes can be installed to prevent any further incidents.