HomeNewsArticle Display

JBLE Airman helps save drowning girl

U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. Richard Penny, 633rd Air Base Wing Inspector General management internal control toolset administrator and special access program manager, Adam Bradshaw and Ashley Staley receive Citizen Lifesaving certificates at Fort Monroe, Virginia, June 7, 2018.

U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. Richard Penny, 633rd Air Base Wing Inspector General management internal control toolset administrator and special access program manager, Adam Bradshaw and Ashley Staley receive Citizen Lifesaving certificates at Fort Monroe, Virginia, June 7, 2018. On May 13, 2018, Penny, Bradshaw and Staley risked their lives to save a nine-year-old girl from drowning near the rock banks of Fort Monroe Beach. (Courtesy photo)

JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. (AFNS) -- A child was drowning at Fort Monroe Beach, Virginia, May 13, 2018.

When medical services arrived, they found a young girl who had been rescued from the water and was safe in her mother’s arms. The nine year old had gone swimming, when the current took her into deeper waters where she could no longer stand and was getting closer to the rocks.

“My friend got up and said ‘that little girl is in the water,’” said Tech Sgt. Richard Penny, 633rd Air Base Wing Inspector General management internal control toolset administrator and special access program manager. “My back was towards the water so I couldn't see what was going on, but she took off sprinting so I just started sprinting with her.”

It was at that moment that Penny, along with friends Ashley Staley and Adam Bradshaw, sprang into action.

At first, Penny and his friends couldn’t locate the girl. He remembers getting to the top of the rocks and seeing her still conscious, floating in the water.

“Then we heard her mom come sprinting and shouting, ‘help my daughter, she can’t swim, and I can’t either,’” Penny said.

Penny and Staley started climbing down the sharp, slippery rocks until they reached what they thought was shallow water.

“We weren't expecting for the water to be so deep that close to the rocks, but it was over our heads,” Penny said.

He said, this was the first time he remembers being afraid for himself -- even after four deployments.

“I don’t know if I ever would have done that if I wasn’t in the military,” Penny said. “The way the Air Force molds you into being a leader, the mentality and mindset given in the military, helped me through that.”

Soon after, Bradshaw arrived after swimming around the rocks in search for the girl and helped bring her back to the edge of the rocks.

“At this point, the water was just beating us against the rocks,” Penny said. “The water was just crazy. It was really, really rough that day.”

After getting the little girl and Staley out of the water, Penny and Bradshaw were met by friends that had remained on shore to help them out of the water.

In the aftermath of the rescue, beach marker signs have been installed to help emergency responders locate incidents on the beach quicker. The brown signs with reflective numbers will assist 911 callers to accurately identify the area to responding units.

The Hampton, Virginia, Division of Fire and Rescue recognized Penny, Staley and Bradshaw with Citizen Lifesaving certificates June 7, 2018. They will receive medals at a later date.

“I never thought there would be a day that I would almost be giving up my life for someone,” Penny said. “But I don’t take it back, and I’m so thankful that on Mother’s Day, that mom got to take her little girl home.”

Engage

Facebook Twitter
#ICYMI, @SecAFOfficial recently met with @Offutt_AFB leaders & elected officials to discuss the base's rebuilding e… https://t.co/FDVGeNlTi0
The #USAF is looking for men and women for the 2019 Armed Forces Triathlon June 19-23, in Ventura County,… https://t.co/Dqjgj02qC8
Part of being in the military involves traveling to foreign countries. The #380AEW Host Nation Coordination Office… https://t.co/6mKtO5NWqj
Sharp eyesight is key to an #Airman’s readiness to fly, fight & win. This #AirForce Tech Report highlights how… https://t.co/MaxAEXIOpz
Next-generation warfighting is all about data...yet sometimes our email doesn’t even load. @USecAF_Official is driv… https://t.co/5DsspMgYv8
Today is #MedalofHonorDay and we take a moment to honor our nation’s greatest heroes who have received the highest… https://t.co/B5CVsuV3vX
From foster kid to #Airman, mentor and raising the #AirForce’s next generation. @TeamMisawa https://t.co/7NmxHqOJGe https://t.co/vVoVVnjEgf
Riveting story! Learn more about Ms. Mae Krier, a #WorldWarII pioneer who joined legions of other Rosies in the wor… https://t.co/0QUBOzh4Rr
RT @HollomanAFB: Happy #NationalPuppyDay! Our #MilitaryWorkingDogs protect and defend us each and everyday. Check out these #adorable photo…
RT @AirForceMag: HIT THE BOOKS: Check out a non-exhaustive list of Air Force Chief of Staff @GenDaveGoldfein's reading recommendations from…
Some of us are women, but we are all Airmen! #WomensHistoryMonth https://t.co/pcBtWWIiE6
.@GenDaveGoldfein: "Celebration of #diversity and making sure we understand the flesh colored band aids is not abou… https://t.co/iUqNbSpCPB
.@RAFMildenhall #KC135 crew strengthened relationship with Romanian #AirForce through air refueling training. For m… https://t.co/8dGvm2HQwC
RT @SecAFOfficial: Mother nature can’t beat the 55th Wing! We will recover @Offutt_AFB from the devastating flood. Amazing American 🇺🇸 spir…
Today the #AirForce announced a new Infrastructure Investment Strategy following a yearlong review that brings a ne… https://t.co/i1yDRQkaPl
RT @Offutt_AFB: As the water has begun to recede, Team Offutt is in full recovery mode. https://t.co/6QPZ96UNZY
RT @SecAFOfficial: Thanks to Iowa leaders who just signed a bill to recognize out of state licenses for our military spouses! @SenJoniErnst
RT @SecAFOfficial: This will make a difference on our bases for decades to come...getting more out of every dollar we spend on #infrastruct
See how our aircraft maintainers keep our #F15s safe and mission ready! @142ndFW https://t.co/H6CrSoCCIg