Space operator receives Airman's Medal

Airman receives Airman's Medal for heroic actions.

1st Lt. Dominic Vicino, 20th Space Control Squadron, stands with the Airman’s Medal, which was awarded in a ceremony at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Jan. 10, 2018. His heroic actions saved three people’s lives in Miramar Beach. The Airman’s Medal is the Air Force’s highest noncombat award for Airmen who distinguish themselves by a heroic act. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kristin Stewart)

Airman's Medal awarded for heroic actions.

1st Lt. Dominic Vicino salutes Col. Todd Moore, 21st Space Wing commander, during the Airman’s Medal ceremony Jan. 10, 2018, at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Vicino was awarded the Airman’s Medal for saving three people. This is the Air Force’s highest noncombat award for Airmen who distinguish themselves by a heroic act. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Kenneth Stewart)

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFNS) -- A 20th Space Control Squadron Airman was honored with an achievement medal for his actions Jan. 10, 2018.

First Lieutenant Dominic Vicino, a weapons and tactics officer, distinguished himself by risking his life to save three others at Miramar Beach, Florida, March 31, 2017.

On that date, swimming was prohibited because of dangerous wildlife and life-threatening riptide conditions along the Gulf Coast. Vicino saw two people waving their arms approximately 100 yards offshore.

“I realized they were in distress, so I dropped my belongings and bolted for the water in a dead sprint,” said Vicino.

Vicino fought through dangerous waves and riptides to reach the victims and carry them back to shore. Then he re-entered the water and rescued a distressed lifeguard.

“I’m just glad I happened to be in the right place at the right time,” said the 24-year-old.

Vicino credits his strong swimming skills to playing water polo for 15 years and to the Air Force Academy’s water survival training.

“I am very confident in my swimming ability, so I knew I could get out to them,” said the Rancho Cucamonga, California, native.

Col. Todd Moore, 21st Space Wing commander, presented the Airman’s Medal during a ceremony held before Vicino’s parents and peers.

“One of the things I really value is courage,” said Moore. “When we recognize that something is not ok it would be easy to run off, get someone else, or turn our back, but it takes courage to act.”

His commander is proud and believes the lieutenant exemplifies the Air Force’s core values.

“Vicino didn’t earn this medal so much for his efforts as much as his character,” said Lt. Col. Raj Agrawal, 20th SPCS commander. “It was his character that compelled him to disregard his personal safety for the safety of others.”

The Airman’s Medal is the Air Force’s highest noncombat award for Airmen who distinguish themselves by a heroic act. The Airman's Medal is the same award given to Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone, one of three Americans who stopped a terrorist attack aboard a French train in August of 2015.