McCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE -- Kansas Military training is credited for helping a McConnell reservist save a fellow Airman from choking.
He went beyond protecting lives - he saved one.
"I'm going to Charley's to get a salad," says McConnell Reservist Lieutenant Craig Van Praag as he walks into the base exchange.
A late lunch was on his mind Wednesday afternoon when he made a quick glance and noticed what appeared to be a man who had a piece of food go down the wrong pipe.
"I get about half-through the ropes and I look at him again and it looks like it's serious. That's when I run to the table," explains Van Praag.
He asked the man if he could breath.
"I didn't get him out of the chair or anything, I just got behind him and gave him a couple thrusts and I asked him again, 'Can you breathe?' and he said, 'No'."
A more aggressive attempt at the Heimlich...launched the man's obstruction out onto his tray.
A successful first-time use of the training he's received over the past decade.
"I saw him in trouble and training just kinda took over, I didn't really think much about it just - clear the airway. It's important to breathe!" laughs Van Praag.
But what if he hadn't been there?
Van Praag explains, "We have the wingman concept and we do a really good job of looking out for each other so I have no doubt, if I wouldn't have been there another Airman would have stepped up and done the same thing."
Van Praag doesn't see his actions as anything exceptional.
But others, like his colleagues and even his three kids at home, see his actions as outstanding.
"They teach the Heimlich maneuver in CPR training. I've never had to use it before, this was the first time so I'm really glad that it worked and evidently not too hard to use."
Van Praag says the whole incident happened so quickly he didn't really have time to think - the past decaded of training kicked in and thankfully it ended with successful results.