An off-duty Coast Guard commander and graduate of Deering High School is being credited with rescuing a woman near Pensacola Beach, Fla., on Sunday.

Lt. Commander Gabriel Somma, who is a helicopter pilot instructor at Naval Air Station Whiting Field in Milton, about 20 miles away, saw a woman 50 yards from shore struggling against the current, according to a statement from the Coast Guard.

Somma swam out to Murphy and brought her back to the beach, the release said.

“A combination of my Coast Guard and water survival training really helped me today,” Somma said in the release. “As I was approaching her in the water, I thought about my water survival training and my instinct took over, and I was able to save that woman’s life.” He said the experience made him appreciate the work of the Coast Guard’s rescue swimmers.

Somma graduated from Deering High School in 1993 and is the son of James Somma and Valerie Somma, both of Portland. He was recently promoted to lieutenant commander at a ceremony in Pensacola.