In early November Marine Sgt. John James rushed to the rescue of an elderly Okinawan woman from who was bitten by the venomous Habu Viper.
In late December the Marine was awarded the Navy Achievement Medal for his lifesaving actions ― while Tokiko Ahuso, the Kin Town resident he rescued, was present.
This wasn’t his first rendezvous with a snake.
The Marine and a few of his buddies were at the Saloon Bar on Nov. 6, 2020, having a barbecue when they heard Ahuso scream, eventually making out the words, “habu, habu.”
James ran to Ahuso and quickly applied an emergency tourniquet while emergency services were called.
When emergency services arrived, they took Ahuso to the hospital and, finding the snake nearby, were able to identify the right anti-venom to administer.
“I didn’t know if I was ever going to hear from her, but I just talked to her this past weekend, and she’s doing really well,” James said in a press release. “I think she went back to work about two to three days after the incident.”
After pinning on the NAM, Ahuso and her daughter, Hirono Ikehara, received a tour of the area on Camp Hansen, Okinawa where James works with Combat Logistics Battalion 31, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit.