FORT POLK, La. — On Jan. 16, Staff Sgt. Herman Main, 519th Military Police Battalion, strolled through the aisles of the Main Post Exchange when he noticed that someone was in trouble — a young girl was choking.
“I saw an older gentleman run past me with the child in his arms — it was clear that something was wrong.”
Main said he began walking in the man’s direction, and that’s when he heard a woman exclaim that the child was choking.
Main said when he caught up with the man and the young girl in distress, he noticed that her body was limp and her lips were blue. “I took the child, held her and I administered back blows. I also called out for someone to contact emergency responders,” said Main.
“I gave roughly five back blows before the child swallowed the obstruction and began crying and breathing on her own again.”
After clearing her airway, Main said that he stood the girl up to check her airway. By this point, paramedics were on the scene ready to evaluate the girl.
For his life-saving efforts, Main received the Army Commendation Medal on Feb. 11 during an awards ceremony attended by Main’s unit and close relatives.
Brig. Gen. David S. Doyle, Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk commanding general, spoke at the ceremony and presented the award to Main.
“The best noncomissioned officers are all named Abe, which stands for ‘Alert, Bold and Expert’,” said Doyle.
“In saving that child, you had to stay alert, you acted boldly by not hesitating and you proved yourself to be an expert — you had the skills necessary to help that child.”
Doyle said that there is a Family today that is extremely glad that Main has the wherewithall to jump into action.
Main said that this incident proves that training is important. “We may do a lot of training that is repetitive, but you never know when you’re going to be in a situation that requires quick thinking. It’s vital to take all the training you can get, take it seriously and train like you fight.”