Heroic teen receives
trip aboard Navy ship

A Maryland teenager is headed home on a Navy amphibious assault ship after he helped save the life of a Kahuku High School senior at Waimea Bay.

Adam Smith, who wants to attend the U.S. Naval Academy and become a helicopter pilot, is going to San Diego courtesy of the Navy on the USS Boxer, which launches helicopters and Harrier jets.

Smith, 16, and Marine Cpl. Quentin Gwynn were at Waimea Bay Monday night when Pupukea resident Pat Savage nearly drowned.

Gwynn and Savage's foster brother Ely Blanchard pulled the Kahuku High student out of the water, and Gwynn and Smith performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Savage was released from the Queen's Medical Center yesterday.

Smith, who learned CPR in April for a summer job as a lifeguard at a Baltimore pool, was visiting relatives in Mililani with his parents.

When Capt. Kenny Golden, commander of Amphibious Squadron One, heard of Smith's desire to attend Annapolis, he asked the teenager if he wanted to join the several hundred family members of sailors and Marines assigned to the Boxer who boarded the helicopter assault carrier here on its final leg to San Diego. The Navy calls these morale-boosting trips "tiger cruises."

The Boxer is part of a five-ship Amphibious Task Force West, which left San Diego Jan. 17 and participated in the latest Iraqi conflict.

Gwynn, 21, is part of the 11th Marine Regiment and left Pearl Harbor yesterday on the USS Bonhomme Richard. The other vessels in the task force are the USS Cleveland, USS Dubuque and USS Pearl Harbor. They arrived in Honolulu on Sunday morning.

While Gwynn and Smith were helping Savage, thieves stole a backpack containing money, credit cards, identification cards, a camera and a watch belonging to Gwynn and his girlfriend, Navy Petty Officer Heather Lenhart, 20.

With the help of the Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii and others, Gwynn and Lenhart were treated to free hotel rooms, meals and vehicle rentals and given cash to replace what they lost.

Smith met with Gwynn Wednesday aboard the Bonhomme Richard and got a firsthand look at the ship's Harrier jets.


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