Army combat medics honored for saving choking baby’s life

The combat medics received the Army Commendation Medal on Sept. 29.
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Fort Drum medics
Col. Matthew W. Braman, 10th Mountain Division deputy commander (left) pins an Army Commendation Medal on Spc. Roberta Lee (right-center) and Spc. Roberta Badiei (right), for helping to save a choking baby. (Staff Sgt. Courtney Davis/U.S. Army)

Four combat medics with the 10th Mountain Division were recently awarded Army Commendation Medals for helping save a choking infant’s life.

On Sept. 20, several soldiers with the 41st Brigade Engineer Battalion, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team were outside while taking a break from training at an indoor firing range when a car suddenly stopped on the side of the road, an Army news release says.

A woman jumped out of the car and started screaming, “Call 911, she’s not breathing!”

The woman then opened the car’s backdoor and pulled the infant out of the back seat and screamed, “She’s not breathing!”

Spc. Roberta Badiei ran to the woman and saw that the baby was not making any sounds and turning blue.

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Badiei knew that the infant was too young for the Heimlich maneuver because pressing on a choking baby’s stomach could harm the child’s internal organs.

Fort Drum medics
Combat medical specialists assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 41st Brigade Engineer Battalion, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, received awards for their quick response in providing pediatric cardiopulmonary resuscitation support to an infant that was non-responsive. (Staff Sgt. Courtney Davis/U.S. Army)

Instead, Badiei put the baby over her forearm and gave the infant five quick back blows to clear the baby’s airway.

Spc. Roberta Lee and Sgt. Jarrett Rivera quickly arrived and began helping Badiei.

“When I came over all I could think about is how can I help this family,” Lee said in the Army news release. “I did what I was trained to do. Sgt. Jarrett Rivera showed up a little after me, and together we were able to get her to breathing again.”

Pfc. Alex Leal was inside the firing range when he heard a call for help. He ran outside the building and by the time he got to the scene, he could see that the others were assisting the baby, so he began helping the father and guided in emergency vehicles.

Thanks to the combat medics’ teamwork and knowledge of pediatric life-saving procedures, the baby survived. First responders eventually arrived and took over providing medical care to the infant.

All four combat medics received the Army Commendation Medal at a Sept. 29 ceremony held at Fort Drum that was attended by Col. Matthew Braman, deputy commanding officer – support and acting senior commander, Fort Drum and the 10th Mountain Division; and 10th Mountain Division Command Sgt. Maj. Nema Mobarakzadeh.

The soldiers’ actions are a testament to Army values and the importance of readiness, said Army Capt. Andrew Hoiland, a company commander assigned to 41st Brigade Engineer Battalion

“These medics reacted at a moment’s notice to provide care for not just Soldiers, but also their families,” Hoiland said in the Army news release. “They embody the meaning of selfless service.”

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