Space operator receives Airman's Medal

  • Published
  • By Kristin Stewart
  • 20th Space Control Squadron

A 20th Space Control Squadron Airman was honored with an achievement medal for his actions here Jan. 10.

First Lieutenant Dominic Vicino distinguished himself by risking his life to save three others at Miramar Beach 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 the weapons and tactics officer.

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, Calif. 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 Forces 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.