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AFGHANISTAN: Oklahoma machine-gunner/lifeguard saves two Marines from river

November 1, 2008 |  1:13 pm

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Spec. Beau Jordan was trained as a machine-gunner for the Oklahoma Army National Guard. But he used to work summers as a lifeguard, and his hobby is scuba diving.

So when two Marines were in danger of being swept away by a swift-moving river in Afghanistan, Jordan says he "reacted instinctively."

Jordan, 22, was waiting for the two to return from a Taliban-hunting mission with Afghan troops. It was dark before he spotted the Marines, in full combat gear, trying to cross the rain-swollen Alishang River. The two were using the red headlamps on their helmets for guidance.

Then one of the headlamps went under the water.

"I just jumped in," Jordan said. "I didn't have time to think about it."

He pulled one Marine to shore and then went back for the second, saving both.

On Friday, in a ceremony at Ardmore, Okla., Jordan received the Soldier's Medal, the Guard's top award for non-combat bravery.

-- Tony Perry, in San Diego

Photo: Beau Jordan and parents at Friday ceremony. Credit: Oklahoma Army National Guard.

P.S. Get news from the Middle East in your mailbox every day. The Los Angeles Times distributes a free daily newsletter with the latest headlines from the Middle East, as well as the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. You can subscribe by logging in at the website here, clicking on the box for "L.A. Times updates" and then clicking on the "World: Mideast" box.

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