US-Japan Team Saves Divers:

A local Okinawa resident and US Marine were lost off the Okinawa coast on March 12, after becoming trapped in the bottom of an 80-foot cliff near a popular dive site on the island. Combining efforts, airmen from Kadena Air Base and Japanese first responders helped save the two divers after a five-hour search and rescue operation. Airmen from the 718th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Kadena had a HH-60 Pave Hawk ready to carry an aircrew and pararescuers to join a search as the sun began to set. Using a winch, the pararescuemen were lowered into a spot in the cliffs where 20-foot waves were pounding the two divers. After several aborted attempts, the airmen lifted the two divers out and delivered them to Japanese fire and rescue crews by 1:30 a.m. the next morning. “It was nice to see how smoothly we worked together,” said 2nd Lt. Timothy James, a combat rescue officer with the 31st Rescue Squadron.