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Readiness Beyond the Mission

A military member holds his hands as he stands in front of a room.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Nathaniel W. Stedman, 35th Security Forces Squadron base defense operations center controller/patrolman, gives remarks about receiving a coin from Col. Jesse J. Friedel, 35th Fighter Wing commander, during a surprise coining at Misawa Air Base, Japan, July 1, 2021. Stedman believed that he was giving a security briefing only to be coined for rescuing a little girl at the base’s beach. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joao Marcus Costa)

Two military members shake hands. The member on the right coins the one on the left in the hand shake.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Nathaniel W. Stedman, 35th Security Forces Squadron base defense operations center controller/patrolman, is coined by Col. Jesse J. Friedel, 35th Fighter Wing commander, during a surprise coining at Misawa Air Base, Japan, July 1, 2021. Stedman received the coin for saving a 5-year-old girl from drowning at the base’s beach during a Cub Scout campout. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joao Marcus Costa)

A military member walks across a room as others in the room clap for him.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Nathaniel W. Stedman, 35th Security Forces Squadron base defense operations center controller/patrolman, receives applause after a surprise coining in his honor at Misawa Air Base, Japan, July 1, 2021. Stedman attended a Cub Scout campout where he rescued a little girl from deep water at the base’s beach. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joao Marcus Costa)

A military member stands in between two Cub Scout masters as the three pose for a picture

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Nathaniel W. Stedman, 35th Security Forces Squadron base defense operations center controller/patrolman, stands with Jason Wysong, left, a Cub Scout master, who was a witness at the event at Misawa Air Base, Japan, July 1, 2021. Stedman and his two sons participated at a Cub Scout campout where Stedman rescued a little girl from deep water at the base’s beach. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joao Marcus Costa)

A military member holds his hands over a table looking ahead.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Nathaniel W. Stedman, 35th Security Forces Squadron base defense operations center controller/patrolman, gives an interview after being coined at Misawa Air Base, Japan, July 1, 2021. Stedman received a coin from Col. Jesse J. Friedel, 35th Fighter Wing commander, for saving a little girl from the water at the base’s beach. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joao Marcus Costa)

A military member hold up a 35th Fighter Wing coin with the mascot, The Wild weasel, on it holding a bomb to a target with a lightning bolt coming from the side striking it at the same place.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Nathaniel W. Stedman, 35th Security Forces Squadron base defense operations center controller/patrolman, holds the coin he was awarded at Misawa Air Base, Japan, July 1, 2021. Jason Wysong, a Cub Scout master, informed Stedman’s supervisor about Stedman saving a little girl from drowning, demonstrating his readiness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joao Marcus Costa)

MISAWA AIR BASAE, Japan --

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.