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U.S. Coast Guard Reservist Receives Silver Star

Darren G. Apiag (left) receives the Silver Star award from the Governor of Guam, the Honorable Lourdes A. Leon Guerrero.
Darren G. Apiag (left) receives the Silver Star award from the Governor of Guam, the Honorable Lourdes A. Leon Guerrero.

By The Maritime Executive 12-10-2019 12:16:07

Darren G. Apiag II, firefighter for Guam Fire and a Coast Guard reserve petty officer 3rd class assigned to Station Apra Harbor has been awarded the Silver Star by the Governor of Guam.

He was aboard the Guam Fire rescue boat that responded to a 15-year-old boy who fell 100 feet into the water from the Jonestown overlook on October 8 this year.

“A super typhoon had just past, and we knew that we still had a high surf advisory in effect for Guam,” said Apiag. “We could see from where the fire station is to the area where the call came from that some white caps were slamming into the cliff area. We had some concerns if it was safe to get into the water or conduct a dive.”

Once the rescue crew arrived on the scene, they were relieved to see the boy still treading water in the distance.

“We couldn’t get the boat close enough to do shipboard pick up due to the sea state and the proximity to the reef.”

Apiag was given the go-ahead to enter the choppy waters and begin the water rescue by the rescue boat officer. “I came right up to the kid and asked him to remain calm and that I was here to help him. I swam back to the boat shortly after,” said Apiag. “The boy’s first words after I got to him were, thank you.”

Apiag grew up in the village of Inarjan, Guam. He has been a firefighter with Guam Fire Department since 2013, and he joined the Coast Guard Reserves in 2016.

"His professional presence is evident in his continued success not only as a Coast Guardsman but as a member of the Guam Fire Department," said Capt. Christopher Chase, commander, Coast Guard Sector Guam.

Apiag was presented the Silver Star by the Governor of Guam, the Honorable Lourdes A. Leon Guerrero. The award, authored by Guerrero, recognized Apiag for valorously distinguishing himself by displaying courage and bravery in the performance of his duties as a firefighter and surface swimmer. He placed himself at risk going above the call of duty to save a life during a life-threatening situation.