By Petty Officer 1st Class Amanda Gray, Submarine Group 9 Public Affairs
For acts of heroism, the weapons officer assigned to the Gold crew of the guided-missile submarine USS Ohio (SSGN 726) was presented with the Navy and Marine Corps Medal during a ceremony held at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility, June 30.
On August 28, 2016, while the submarine was moored at Apra Harbor, Guam, Lt. Andrew Lawrence saved one of his shipmates from drowning during a snorkeling trip.
“Lt. Lawrence heard the faint call for help and saw his fellow shipmate’s perilous situation and, without hesitation, swam back into the surf at the reef’s edge to render assistance to a helpless Sailor,” said Capt. Gerald Miranda, Ohio Gold’s commanding officer. “Once he realized his shipmate was stuck and began to drown, Lt. Lawrence disregarded his own personal safety and risked his life to free his foot and save him.”
Rear Adm. John Tammen, commander, Submarine Group 9, presented Lawrence with the award in front of the crew.
“His actions set the example for all Sailors,” said Tammen. “He risked his own life to save a shipmate, and the Navy is very grateful. He has received one of the highest awards possible. It is rarely awarded — only in exceptional circumstances.”
The Navy and Marine Corps Medal is the highest non-combat decoration awarded for heroism by the U.S. Navy. The medal was established by Congress Aug. 7, 1942.
The ship is currently undergoing a major maintenance period at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PSNS & IMF). Major maintenance periods are part of a ship’s normal operating cycle and occur after the submarine has been forward deployed for more than 12 months.
Ohio class guided-missile submarines (SSGN) provide the Navy with an unprecedented combination of strike and special operation mission capability within a stealthy, clandestine platform. Armed with tactical missiles and equipped with superior communications capabilities, SSGNs are capable of directly supporting dozens of special operations forces.
Ohio and its sister ship USS Michigan (SSGN 727) are both homeported at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor.