Right: New York City police officer Syed Ali walks out of a briefing room at police headquarters, Thursday, Dec. 27, 2018, after speaking to reporters about his battle with homeless men who came at him as he patrolled a Manhattan subway station on Sunday, Dec. 22. Ali has been widely praised for his response, which was caught on a video that has gone viral. (Associated Press/Michael R. Sisak)

NYPD Officer Syed Ali, standing toe-to-toe with five homeless assailants, paused for a second.

"I felt a trickle of sweat go down the back of my neck," the cool-as-a-cucumber cop recalled Thursday. "And then it was straight-up police action."

Ali, a U.S. Army veteran once deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, shrugged off his fearless show of self-defense during a subterranean battle last Sunday inside a Lower East Side subway station.

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The NYPD officer caught on viral video fending off a band of subway vagrants without reaching for his gun has handled himself well under pressure before — he’s a U.S. Army veteran who’s served in Iraq and Afghanistan, police said.

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