This real-life “Superman” has pulled off every courageous stunt in the books; he has rescued people from a burning car; served on the president’s security team; and he was one of the divers who saved the team of Thai soccer players last year.
Not only that, he had been on his way to receive a medal for his heroism earlier this month when he saved a choking baby on an airplane.
U.S. Air Force Technical Sgt. Kenneth O’Brien is always humble about his acts of heroism, but he was only recently recognized for his valor after he was selected 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,” said O’Brien.
O’Brien had been on an airplane with his family from Okinawa to Dallas to receive the award when he noticed that a 1-year-old child had started to choke. After another passenger failed to clear the blockage in the baby’s throat, O’Brien quickly stepped in to perform CPR and back thrusts. One minute later, the baby had regained consciousness.
O’Brien, who returned to his seat and continued to check on the child throughout the flight, said: “I’m thankful that the child is ok and that I was able to help when the family needed support. I happened to be in the right place at the right time.”
Nevertheless, reporters and military officials have hailed the airman for his consistent talent for saving people’s lives.
“I can’t decide if he’s Superman or Mayhem (the guy on the insurance commercials),” joked Lieutenant General Jim Slife in a Facebook post.
“He’s on the President’s security detail during his summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un,” he continued. “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.
“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,” concluded Slife.
Despite all of the dangers that O’Brien has endured over the course of his 12-year career in the Air Force, he says that he does not plan on stopping any time soon.
“If someone needs to go do something dangerous, I volunteer,” said O’Brien. “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.”
Save Your Friends From Negativity By Sharing The News To Social Media — Feature photo by U.S. Air Force / Airman 1st Class Mandy Foster