Samuel W. O’Brien, saved Jo Ann A. Gordon from drowning, Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, August 21, 1972. When she was caught by a strong under current in the Atlantic Ocean and carried seaward, Mrs. Gordon, 37, was unable to swim toward the beach and called for help. O’Brien, 50, civilian employee of the U.S. Army, swam through closely spaced breakers in the rough surf and reached Mrs. Gordon 300 feet from shore. He obtained a hold on her and began towing her shoreward despite strong currents in the area. Occasionally submerged by breakers which once caused him to lose hold of Mrs. Gordon briefly, O’Brien was tired and winded by the time he reached a point 60 feet from shore. A life ring with a rope attached was thrown to O’Brien and Mrs.Gordon, and they were pulled to the beach.
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