Two Airmen relied on their medical training to save a co-workers life after a piece of steak was lodged in his throat at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in May.

Staff Sergeants Kerrine Leguin and Joshua Bevins of the 711th Human Performance Wing of the Air Force Research Laboratory were awarded the Air Force Achievement Medal for outstanding achievement after their efforts.

Staff Sgt. Leguin heard noises in the office next to her and performed the Heimlich maneuver after the man approached her cubicle and gestured that he was choking. The man was too tall to properly perform the maneuver and Staff Sgt. Bevins took over on instinct.

“Once he was able to gain composure the first thing he said was ‘you guys are heroes,’ and I’ll never forget that,” Bevins said. “I know that if anyone else was there they would have done the same.”

Leguin and Bevins have been trained in Self-Aid Buddy Care, a basic life support training for the Air Force that Bevins says is a requirement for Airmen.

Because of his training, Bevins said he was immediately able to recognize that his co-worker had a “true obstruction.” If someone has a true obstruction, they are not able to pass air in or out and that’s when the the Heimlich Maneuver would need to be performed.

“Luckily I didn’t have to think too much about what I was doing and the instincts just kind of took over,” Bevins said.

Dr. Kevin Geiss, director of Airman Systems Directorate presented the awards.

“I’m very proud of these two Airmen, who were quick to recognize the emergency and then worked as a team to help the choking victim,” said Geiss.

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