FORT SILL, Oklahoma (June 25, 2020) -- Drill sergeants from E Battery, 1st Battalion, 79th Field Artillery received the New Mexico Medal of Merit award June 17, from the New Mexico State Command Sgt. Maj. Robbie Cantrell in recognition of their actions in saving the life of a trainee in the New Mexico Army National Guard.The trainee in the E Battery suffered a cardiac emergency May 30. Drill Sergeants (Staff Sgt.) Chanel  Smith, (Staff Sgt.) Casey Ramos, (Staff Sgt.) Orlando Flores, (Sgt. 1st Class) Christopher Cool,  as well as 1st Lt. Christian Ehrenzeller, rushed to his aid.The immediate actions of the cadre team performing lifesaving measures kept the trainee alive until an Emergency Medical Services team arrived and took over.The Soldiers’ response was a testament to their high level of training, proficiency, and professionalism, Cantrell noted.Smith said she was “first and foremost, concerned with the welfare of her trainee and his recovery.” She added that she was “honored to receive an award from the State of New Mexico. It is not every day that something like that happens.”All five of the Soldiers involved received coins of excellence from Cantrell.Col. David Pritchett, chief of staff - Deputy to the Commanding General, Army National Guard FCoE and Fort Sill, presented Training and Doctrine Command coins on behalf of TRADOC Army National Guard Deputy Commanding General Maj. Gen. Mark Anderson.The lifesaving event was yet another example of the level of care that drill sergeants and cadre take to ensure the safety of all trainees, noted Capt. Nicholas Ocegueda, E/1-79th FA commander.Planning, rehearsals, training, precombat checks, and precombat inspections set conditions for safety. Although risk can never be completely eliminated, drill sergeants and cadre work tirelessly to make training tough, realistic, and safe. The health and well-being of civilian volunteers is the top priority at basic combat training.1st Sgt. Gildardo Ramirez, E/1-79th FA, said, “I am humbled and privileged to be surrounded by such an awesome group of professionals who truly care. I cannot understate how proud of them I am.”Lt. Col. Eric  Kunak, 1-79th FA commander, agreed.“This team makes me so proud,” Kunak said. “Their commitment to the health and welfare of our force is unbelievable. Their selfless service is unmatched in any organization that I have served in the last 22 years.”