Airman Traveling To Receive Heroism Award Saves Choking Baby’s Life On The Way
A United States Airman who was on his way to receive a heroism award just showed that he definitely deserved it when he saved the life of a choking baby while en route.
U.S. Air Force Technical Sgt. Kenneth O’Brien has always kept a humble attitude about his heroic deeds, even when he was chosen as one of 12 other Airmen who were named the 2019 Outstanding Airmen of the Year.
“I was shocked and never thought I would win,” Kenneth said.
Kenneth was on a flight from Okinawa, Japan to Dallas, Texas to receive the award when he noticed that a 1-year-old child had started to choke. When another passenger failed to clear the blockage in the baby’s throat, Kenneth leapt to action and began performing CPR and back thrusts. One minute later, the baby regained consciousness thanks to Kenneth’s quick thinking.
Afterwards, Kenneth casually returned to his seat, getting up intermittently during the rest of the flight to make sure the child was alright.
“I’m thankful that the child is ok and that I was able to help when the family needed support,” he said. “I happened to be in the right place at the right time.”
Despite his humble nature, reporters and military officials alike have praised Kenneth for once again showing the world that he is a hero.
“I can’t decide if he’s Superman or Mayhem (the guy on the insurance commercials),” joked Lieutenant General Jim Slife in a post on Facebook. “He’s on the President’s security detail during his summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. He pulls a person from a burning car in Korea. He saves a Thai Navy SEAL during the Thai cave rescue mission. During that mission, he’s the furthest American in the cave, successfully rescuing the Thai [soccer players] who’d been trapped for days.”
“So, he’s rightfully recognized as one of the Air Force’s 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year. AND THEN… on his flight back to the states from Okinawa last weekend for the AFA Convention to be recognized, an infant starts choking and stops breathing. Our man OB leaps into action, clears the breathing passage, resuscitates the kid, hands him back to the parents, and then goes on about his business,” he continued. “Sheesh! I don’t know whether I want to be right next to him in case some bad stuff goes down, or whether I want to be as far away from him as possible because bad stuff always seems to go down around him.”
Though Kenneth has found himself in many dangerous situations over his 12 year military career, he has no intention of slowing down anytime soon.
“If someone needs to go do something dangerous, I volunteer,” Kenneth said. “If someone needs a leader, I volunteer. I happened to be in the right place at the right time and that’s what helped me stand out because I sought out key positions or responsibilities.
“I want to keep doing this as long as I can or as long as my body can handle it,” he added. “Hopefully I can continue to do the big missions like this and continue to help people.”