Oscar R. Villarreal helped to save Raymond J. Urban and saved Henry P. Bollinger from drowning, Laredo, Texas, April 1, 1959. At night the boat from which Air Force Sergeants Urban, 45, and Bollinger, 26, were fishing capsized and sank in Lake Casa Blanca more than 400 feet from shore. Both men were submerged briefly in cold water 20 feet deep and then called for help as they clung to a treetop projecting above the surface. Their wives, who were on shore, summoned help; and about 15 men soon gathered at the scene. Among them were Villarreal, 35, deputy sheriff, and Byron T. Kilmer, a border patrolman. Urban and Bollinger, who could not be seen from shore, called out that the treetop had sagged so that their heads barely were above water. Villarreal asked for someone to swim with him to the aid of the men, and Kilmer volunteered. Undressing to their underwear, Villarreal and Kilmer waded 45 feet and then swam to the tree, where they found Urban and Bollinger. Villarreal swam back to shore to get something to use as a rescue aid. Kilmer, remaining with the two men, trod water. Villarreal obtained a spare tire mounted on a wheel and took it into the water, where it floated. He then swam back to the tree with the wheel and, aided by Kilmer, placed Urban prone across it. With Villarreal pushing and Kilmer pulling, they swam with difficulty to within 45 feet of shore and then waded the rest of the way, towing Urban on the wheel. Kilmer was too cold and fatigued to make another trip. Taking the wheel with him, Villarreal swam back to Bollinger, who lost his hold and was submerged. Villarreal brought him back to the surface and aided him onto the wheel. Pushing the wheel ahead of him, Villarreal swam 300 feet. Becoming fatigued, he moved to alongside the wheel and with difficulty towed it and Bollinger the rest of the way to shore.
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