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NEWS | April 11, 2024

New York Air Guard Members Recognized for Lifesaving Actions

By Maj. Suzanne Jedrosko, 174th Attack Wing

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - New York Air National Guard Staff Sgts. Colin Kistner and Miguel Rodriguez Peraza were honored for reviving a heart attack victim.

Kistner was awarded the Air and Space Commendation Medal and Rodriguez Peraza 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 Nov. 10 when they spotted a man who appeared to be having a heart attack. Kistner assessed the victim, while Rodriguez Peraza dialed 911.

Realizing the man had no pulse, Peraza put the 911 operator on speakerphone while Kistner started CPR chest compressions. Guided by the operator, the two National Guard Airmen kept the man alive until emergency personnel arrived.

Emergency room doctors credited the two men with saving their neighbor’s 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, the 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.”

Kistner and Rodriguez Peraza credited their CPR training as Air Force fitness leaders.

“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.

The 174th Attack Wing operates the MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft. 



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