Barefoot Marines push minivan out of high water

CREATED Nov. 18, 2013 - UPDATED: Nov. 18, 2013

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MILWAUKEE - It's a sight that stunned Magen Villarreal.  She captured a photo of two barefoot U.S. Marines muscling a minivan out of a flooded underpass in Milwaukee's Bay View neighborhood. They had a bystander's help.

"They were right there in the middle, thigh-high water," Villarreal recounted.  "Uniformed Marines with their pants up to their knees came strolling out at started pushing the vehicle."

The three servicemen got stuck in their military van on the way to a Sunday funeral service.
 
Cpl. Innocent Niangoran, Sgt. Robert Porras and Sgt. James Starck serve on Fox Company's funeral detail.  They provide military honors for those who went before.  
 
"I thought I could make it through the water with the van.  The water ended up being a little deeper than I thought it was," said Sgt. Starck.
 
Strong storms pounded southeast Wisconsin late Sunday morning.  Heavy rains caused urban ponding in Milwaukee and its suburbs.
 
"It was pretty cold," Sgt. Porras told TODAY'S TMJ4 reporter Tom Murray.  "We knew what we had to do."
 
Cpl. Niangoran said he made the decision to remove shoes and roll up pant legs.
 
"Basically, we were trying not to get our pants dirty because we had to make the funeral," he said.
 
After boot camp and deployments to war zones, a few inches of water in Bay View proved to be no big deal.
 
The Marines made it to the funeral.  In fact, they were an hour early.
 
Mission accomplished.