HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. —
As elite military volleyball players from around the U.S. armed forces competed for victory at the 2018 Armed Forces Volleyball Championship here, they might not have known they shared the court with four lifesaving sailors.
On the afternoon of May 5, 2018, All-Navy Men’s Volleyball players Chief Petty Officer Aniahau Desha, from Hilo, Hawaii; Seaman Gaston Yescas, from Tucson, Arizona; Petty Officer 1st Class Sheldon Lucius, from Pearl City, Hawaii; and Petty Officer 3rd Class Joshua Essick, from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, risked themselves to save the lives of two teenage girls at Naval Station Mayport Beach, Florida.
These sailors bravely responded to cries for help from beachgoers, stating that two people were in trouble 75 yards off shore. Understanding the peril at hand, the four sailors entered rough surf conditions to retrieve the endangered swimmers.
“I was on the beach with my wife, and everyone showed up there, Josh, Sheldon, and Gaston. We’d just sat down, and some ladies came up the beach were yelling for help, seeing that the girls were out in the waves, needing help. They were in trouble, so we just ran into the water and got them,” Desha said.
As the rescuers reached the teenagers, one of the girls was holding on to her unresponsive…