A retired Marine Master Sergeant died Wednesday in the process of saving the lives of two drowning teens.
Retired Marine Master Sergeant and two time purple heart recipient, Rodney Buentello was at the Bandera City Park in Texas with his family when he witnessed two teens drowning in the river.
According to the Bandera Marshals office, a teenage girl was walking along the edge of the nearby park damn, when she fell into the Medina River and was swept away by the harsh flow of water. A teenage boy jumped in to save the girl, but he too had trouble with the current.
Buentello jumped into the water and saved both teenagers but wasn’t able to fight the strong current any longer and was dragged under the water and drowned before he could be saved by rescuers.
“His last breath, he pushed the boy towards EMS,” Buentello’s father told KENS 5.
Buentello served in the Marines for 20 years and served in three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to Marine Corps news releases, he served as a recruiter in San Antonio as well as the class instructor and training training chief for Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron in Iwakuni, Japan.
“He went into the Marine Corps to try and emulate me. He far exceeded,” Buentello’s father told KENS 5.
After retiring from the Marines, Buentello was hired as an instructional assistant football coach at John Jay High School in 2013, but resigned on good terms to pursue another job opportunity according to his father.
Buentello was a family man and enjoyed coaching his three sons.
— Sharon Ko (@SharonKoKENS5) June 10, 2016