During the frigid winter months, when police officers are called to assist persons in rivers and other waterways, the outcomes can obviously be tragic. Fortunately, stories like this one last month in Mississippi show the resolve (or maybe the goofiness?) of the human body and mind:
A U.S. Marine startled Vicksburg officials when he went for a winter swim in the Mississippi River. Staff Sgt. Ryan Hoover, 25, was in his native Vicksburg on leave when he donned a wetsuit Monday and went swimming with the outside air temperature below freezing. Several people alerted authorities...
Coast Guard officials say Hoover was picked up by a private boat when its crew told him authorities were concerned and "suggested" he abandon his swim or law enforcement would come get him. He seemed unfazed by the chilly temperatures and strong currents.
Hoover says he was preparing for a future attempt to swim across the river. He said he carried a backpack of food that "would help keep me alive if the current carried me to hell or something." He said he had planned to swim several miles down the river then jog about six miles to his family's home...
As the child of a career Marine, we always believed that Dad and his fellow members of the Corps could handle any situation. Marine J. Tristani added the following Coast Guard incident report detailing the Mississippi River swim as described above. Take note of the last sentence in bold:
R FM COGARD FIST TO BT UNCLAS //N03840//
SUBJ: FIR - SWIMMER IN LOWER MISSISSIPPI RIVER ATTRACTS COAST GUARD, LAW ENFORCEMENT, MEDIA ATTENTION AT VICKSBURG, MS
1. SOURCE/RELIABILITY/CREDIBILITY: COAST GUARD MEMBER/RELIABLE/CONFIRMED.
2. SUMMARY: AN OBJECT ORIGINALLY REPORTED AS A "BODY IN THE WATER" IN THE LMR NEAR VICKSBURG, MS WAS DETERMINED TO BE A LIVE PERSON. A TOWING VESSEL REMOVED THE SWIMMER WHO CLAIMED TO BE AN ACTIVE DUTY MARINE ON A "TRAINING SWIM." IT HAS BEEN CONFIRMED THAT THE SUBJECT IS AN ACTIVE DUTY USMC MEMBER.
6. TEXT: A. ON THE CAPTIONED DATE, LAW ENFORCEMENT RECEIVED REPORTS OF A "BODY IN THE WATER" IN THE LMR NEAR THE VICKSBURG, MS WATERFRONT. AN LE RESPONSE BOAT AS WELL AS A TOWING VESSEL (UTV) RESPONDED TO THE SCENE AT MILE MARKER 435.8 (GEO-CORDS: 32-18.53N/090-54.26W).
B. A LIVE PERSON WAS SUBSEQUENTLY ENCOUNTERED WHO CLAIMED HE WAS OUT FOR A ROUTINE SWIM IN THE RIVER. IT IS NOTED THAT THE TEMPERATURE WAS NEAR FREEZING AND THE SWIMMER WAS IN THE MAIN CHANNEL OF THE RIVER.
C. THE SUBJECT AGREED TO COME ABOARD THE UTV AND WAS REMOVED TO THE TERMINAL ON THE VICKSBURG WATERFRONT. SHERIFF'S DEPUTIES RESPONDED TO THE SCENE ALONG WITH THE PORT SECURITY SPECIALIST, VICKSBURG.
D. SUBJECT WAS IDENTIFIED AS AN ACTIVE DUTY US MARINE WHO CLAIMED HE PLANNED A SWIM IN THE RIVER FOR SEVERAL MILES AND THEN RUN BACK TO HIS STARTING POINT. IT APPEARED THE SUBJECT WAS IN GOOD PHYSICAL CONDITION, SUFFERED NO APPARENT EFFECTS FROM THE COLD WATER AND WAS WEARING A WET SUIT FOR PROTECTION.
E. IT IS NOTED THAT THE SUBJECT WAS ACTUALLY WEARING CIVILIAN CLOTHES OVER THE WET SUIT AND CARRIED A PACK THAT HE CLAIMED CONTAINED FOOD AND SURVIVAL EQUIPMENT.
F. THE SWIMMER WAS IDENTIFIED AS: ..........., WM, DOB: 1983, SSN AVAILABLE. HE IS A SSGT (E-6) IN THE US MARINE CORPS ACCORDING TO HIS MILITARY CAC CARD.
G. IN A SUBSEQUENT INTERVIEW IN A LOCAL NEWSPAPER, , WHO CLAIMED TO BE A VICKSBURG NATIVE VISITING HIS FAMILY, SAID HE WALKED INTO THE RIVER FROM THE RIVER FRONT PARK EARLIER IN THE MORNING. HE CLAIMED HE PLANNED TO SWIM TO LETOURNEAU IN SOUTHERN WARREN COUNTY AND
THEN JOG APPROXIMATELY SIX MILES BACK TO HIS PARENT'S RESIDENCE.
H. TOLD A REPORTER HE HAD BEEN SWIMMING IN THE RIVER SINCE "HE WAS A KID." HE SAID HE WAS TRAINING FOR A FUTURE ATTEMPT TO SWIM ACROSS THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER. CLAIMED THAT HE WAS IN NO DANGER AND WOULD HAVE LIKED TO HAVE CONTINUED HIS SWIM.
7. COMMENTS: A. WAS POSITIVELY IDENTIFIED ON THE SCENE. AN INQUIRY WITH THE NAVAL CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIVE SERVICE (NCIS) CONFIRMED THAT HE WAS AN ACTIVE-DUTY MARINE
B. THE AIR TEMPERATURE WAS APPROXIMATELY 28 DEGREES WHEN LEFT THE WATER. RESCUE PERSONNEL ON THE SCENE DOUBTED ABILITY TO SURVIVE THE SWIM BASED ON THE TEMPERATURE, CURRENTS, RIVER TRAFFIC AND DEBRIS IN THE WATER.
C. THE COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT DID CONTACT FAMILY AND ASKED IF HE WAS SUFFERING FROM ANY MENTAL PROBLEMS. HIS FATHER REPORTEDLY TOLD THE SHERIFF, "ONLY WHEN HE JOINED THE MARINE CORPS."
I am not sure why, but the Marines who have read both pieces of information found the stories very amusing…