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Syracuse Air Guard members recognized for life saving actions

  • Published
  • By Maj. Suzanne Jedrosko
  • 174th Attack Wing

HANCOCK FIELD ANGB,  NY. -- U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Colin Kistner, was awarded the Air and Space Commendation Medal, and Staff Sgt. Miguel Rodriguez Peraza, was awarded the Air and Space Achievement Medal, during a March 8 ceremony at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse.

Kistner, an intelligence analyst assigned to the 174th Operations Support Squadron, was also awarded the New State Commendation Medal, and the 174th Attack Wing’s Diamond Sharp Award.

Rodriguez Peraza, who specializes in aviation resource management in the 138th Attack Squadron, was also presented with the 174th Attack Wing Safety Award, and the 174th Attack Wing’s Diamond Sharp Award. The Diamond Sharp Award recognizes wing Airmen who have excelled.

The two Airmen were out walking dogs with neighbors in Syracuse on Nov. 10, 2023, when they spotted a man who appeared to be having a heart attack. Kistner assessed the victim, while Rodriguez Peraza dialed 911.

Realizing that the man had no pulse, Peraza put the 911 operator on speaker phone while Kistner started CPR chest compressions. Working together and with guidance from the operator, the two National Guard Airmen kept the man alive until emergency personnel arrived on scene.

Emergency room doctors credited the quick thinking by the two men for saving their neighbors life.

“The lifesaving actions of Staff Sgts. Kistner and Rodriguez Peraza represent the very best of the selfless commitment to community service that our National Guard Airmen demonstrate every day,” said Col. John O’Connor, commander of the 174th Attack Wing.

“Their training and quick-thinking actions helped save a life that day, and we are very proud to have them both serving with the 174th Attack Wing,” O’Connor added.

Kistner and Rodriguez Peraza credited the training they had received in CPR as Air Force fitness leaders for knowing what to do.

“In the moment, it was scary,” said Kistner. “But adrenaline kicked in.”

“I would recommend CPR training to anybody, Kistner said.” Rodriguez Peraza agreed, adding that this “could happen at any time to anybody” and that people “have to be ready to help.”

Kistner has been a member of the 174th Attack Wing since 2021.

Rodriguez Peraza joined the unit in 2019.

Rodriguez Peraza was also selected as the 174th Attack Wing Airman of the Year for 2023 based on his leadership, job performance and personal achievement.

The 174th Attack Wing operates the MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft. More than 500 uniformed and civilian personnel work full time at Hancock Field.