Two Marines on Okinawa, Japan, have drowned in as many days, prompting the III Marine Expeditionary Force to temporarily ban swimming and other water recreational activities, said III MEF spokesman 2nd Lt. Jacky Chow.
The Marines died on Saturday and Sunday in separate incidents at Maeda Point, Chow said in an email. A total of three service members on Okinawa have drowned in October.
"III MEF is currently conducting a moratorium on water related activities; and will conduct safety stand-down on recreational water safety activities and measures to ensure the well-being of our service members, their families, and the communities with which we interact," Chow said.
A Marine with the 3rd Logistics Group was pronounced dead at 1:40 p.m. on Sunday after an apparent drowning incident, Chow said. The Marine's name is being withheld pending next of kin notification.
The day before, Sgt. Aubrey Williams, of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, was pronounced dead at 3:40 p.m. in another apparent drowning, said III MEF spokesman 1st Lt. Joseph Butterfield.
Williams enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2008 and served as a UH-1 helicopter crew chief for Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 469, Butterfield said in an email. His military awards include the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Korean Defense Service Medal and the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal. He is survived by his wife and three children.
"HMLA-469 is deeply saddened by Sgt. Williams' passing," Lt. Col Robert J. Weingart, squadron commander, said in a statement. "He was a devoted husband and father, as well as a mentor to the Marines around him. The entire squadron mourns his loss."
Investigations have been launched into both deaths. A sailor from III MEF also drowned earlier this month. On Oct. 10, Petty Officer 1st Class Jorge Noriega Suarez, a Fleet Marine Corpsman, died in an apparent diving accident at Mermaid Grotto, Manzo-Mo.