Local

September 28, 2012

A day at the beach turns into a life saving event

Tags:
by Darnell Gardner
452 AMW public affairs
Ssgt. Gary Mathieson 044

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — Dangerous waves and inexperienced swimmers are not the ideal mix, especially during the holiday weekends. Staff Sgt. Gary Mathieson, loadmaster, 452nd Airlift Control Flight was finally back home after a long mission and trying to enjoy Labor Day weekend at the beach with his brother, when the actions of a few inexperienced swimmers caused him to put his own life in danger to save theirs.

“I was gone all summer and missed the majority of the beach season due to mission requirements,” said Mathieson, who is also a high school teacher at Corona del Mar. “I heard on the wire that there would be some nice swells at Newport Beach during Labor Day weekend so I paired up with my brother and hit the surf.”

Newport Beach is a great place to boogie board, but you have to watch out for the protruding rocks, or the jetty. These particular rocks were put there by the city to prevent the sand from washing away into the ocean. The waves are very powerful during southern swells and have been known to send unsuspecting swimmers crashing into the jetty, causing fatal injuries.

It was a red flag day, indicating dangerous surf and only experienced swimmers should enter the water, however, it was not enough to ward off inexperienced swimmers. Glenn Mathieson, Gary’s brother, had to sit this day out due to medical reasons, so he settled for keeping a watchful eye out for those who ignored the red flag warnings.

“When the rookies see the waves die down between sets, they figure that all is ok and head for the surf,” said Mathieson. “They don’t realize that waves can double and even triple in size in a matter of moments. That’s when they get overwhelmed and washed up on the rocks or swept away.”

The Mathieson brothers have been boogie boarding this beach for more than 15 years and over the years, have pulled several inexperienced swimmers to safety. They know that swimming there requires more than just a swimsuit. They wear the proper gear to include a spring suit, which is designed to keep you warm and is flamboyant, strapped fins, webbed gloves and boogie boards that have leashes attached to them. Safety first, play later is their motto.

While enjoying the surf, Mathieson spotted a few ‘tourists’ getting close to the jetty, unaware of the potential danger that could send them crashing into the rocks. He proceeded to swim over and warn them of the dangers when at a moment’s notice, the next set of swells came up. A series of waves rolled in, forcing all of them closer to the rocks.

“I quickly paddled over to the swimmers and let them hang on to my board as I began to swim away from the beach,” he said. “This may seem backwards, but we had to clear the waves first and get distance away from the rocks and beach before heading back inland. Once out past the breakers, we waited for the life guard boat to arrive to pick the swimmers up.”

He explained that when he visits a new beach, he would sit and watch for about a half hour before entering. It is important to watch the pattern of the waves and the veteran beach goers that swim there on a regular basis.

Mathieson’s quick thinking and exceptional endurance can be attributed to his training in the military and fire department.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. David House

Pacing program embodies Wingman concept

U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. David House Staff Sgt Joey William, 452 Force Support Squadron (right) helps fellow Airmen keep pace during a timed run at the March ARB running track, June 28. William is one of several voluntee...
 
 

Protecting your possessions while on vacation

Somewhere in southern Sicily a man at a remote café sighs, refreshed after a day of climbing hills, thanks to his new black support socks. Opposite him, his wife proudly thrusts her shoulders forward to accentuate her red Yoga T-shirt, even though she has the physique of a woman who loves double ladles of crème...
 
 

Sexual Assault Prevention Innovation Award announced

Defense Department officials today announced the first Sexual Assault Prevention Innovation Award to recognize military and civilian contributions that advance the department’s goals of preventing sexual assault. Core elements of the military’s strategy to prevent sexual assault include the promotion of innovative ideas and enhanced collaboration among the services, officials said. In May, ...
 

 

New clinical recommendations to treat sleep problems

The Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) has released new clinical recommendations and support tools to assist in the identification and treatment of a sleep disturbance occurring in patients after a concussion or mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). The suite of products assists health care providers in the identification of a sleep problem and...
 
 
912-COC

News Briefs July 18, 2014

Change of Command U.S. Air Force photo/1st Lt. Jonathan Wavell Lieutenant Colonel Nathan R. Howard, Commander, 912th Air Refueling Squadron (right), assumes command as he accepts the guidon from Colonel Shawn E. Teagan, Command...
 
 
U.S. Navy Photo/Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist John Harrington

They took a brave path to the United States

U.S. Navy Photo/Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist John Harrington Jimmy Truong (sitting) and Vien Do escaped from Vietnam and found their way to the U.S. before eventually landing Information Technology jobs at the AFN...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin