Hawaii Marine honored for jumping off a cliff to save a woman’s life

A Marine received the Navy and Marine Corps Medal – the highest award for non-combat heroism – for saving the life of a woman who was swept off a cliff in Hawaii.

Compl. Robert Farmer, a small arms repair technician stationed at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, spent his day at work on the bluffs of the China Walls, a popular Oahu vacation spot. He then saw a huge wave sweep a woman off the side of a cliff, according to a Nov. 3 news release from the Indo-Pacific Command.

“I thought she was stuck on the rocks at the bottom of the cliff. She wasn’t there,” Farmer said in the press release. “When I saw her stuck to the coral, I was like, alright, I have to go there. There was a big swell, the conditions were rough but I had to help so I jumped.”

Farmer swam through the powerful waves to reach the woman and pull her to the bottom of the cliff, according to the INDOPACOM publication. With the help of a surfer, he carried the woman to the top of a hill.

There, another Marine, Lance Cpl. Elizabeth Prevette of the 3rd Littoral Logistics Battalion stepped in to provide first aid, according to the INDOPACOM release. Farmer worked with paramedics to examine the woman he rescued for injuries.

The woman survived.

Farmer said in the release that as an experienced whitewater kayaker, he knows what it’s like to be trapped in the water.

“I’ve been there before,” he said. “I know how scary that is. I was there when others helped me, I was there when I needed to help myself. Having someone by your side makes the situation 100 times more bearable. It gives you a bit of hope and confidence.”

On November 2, Col. Jonathan Sims, commanding officer of the 12th Marine Regiment, presented Farmer with the Navy and Marine Corps Medal. The medal is awarded to marines and sailors who demonstrate heroism without being in combat with an enemy. Soldiers who save the lives of others can only earn the medal by risking their own lives.

“We are all very proud of Cpl. farmer,” Sims said in the press release. “He put himself in danger and saved a life that would otherwise have been lost. His actions were consistent with our core values ​​and embody the behavior we expect from our Marines.”

Farmer is part of the 1st Battalion, 12th Marines, which is part of the 3rd Marine Division.

“I am very humbled to receive this prestigious award and I would like to thank Lance Cpl. Prevette also for their actions that day,” Farmer said in the INDOPACOM press release. “She did well under pressure and helped administer the necessary first aid.”

“I believe as Marines we are trained to help people in need, regardless of the time, place or circumstance. I am grateful that I was able to make a positive difference in this situation.”

Irene Loewenson is a contributor to the Marine Corps Times. She joined the Military Times in August 2022 as an editorial staffer. She is a graduate of Williams College, where she was editor-in-chief of the student newspaper.