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Two new Army recruits who braved a drunk and aggressive crowd to help a man who had been king-hit at an Auckland bar have been recognised for their "selfless act of bravery".
Privates Jack Martin of Auckland and Sean Chapman of Opotiki were honoured in Waiouru last week during their graduation as members of the Army.
Their commendations were awarded by the Commander of the Waiouru Military Camp, Colonel Evan Williams.
The pair had been at an Albany bar during an Army recruitment course in in March when they witnessed a brawl that left a man unconscious.
"It was a king-hit from behind. He went down hard and smacked his head on one of the speakers in the club," said Private Chapman.
"You could hear his head hit the speaker, even over the noise of the music."
Both men immediately went to the man and gave him first aid and CPR until emergency services arrived.
Private Martin ensured no one interfered with Private Chapman's attempts to revive the man by keeping a crowd of people.
"It was quite an intense time with lots of intoxicated people around who were trying to intervene. It took a lot of effort to keep them from doing further harm by doing things that would not have helped," said Private Martin.
It was police at the scene who told the pair's course commanders, describing their actions as "a selfless act that had the potential to bring them into the crossfire of a hostile situation, and yet it was done with a clear view in mind to render assistance to an injured stranger."
Colonel Williams said the soldiers showed courage and commitment in the face of adversity.
"What they did possibly ensured that the serious assault did not result in long-term injury or death.
"These commendations recognise the courage and commitment displayed by them and highlight the importance of the Army ethos and values of courage, commitment, comradeship and integrity," he said.
it was not known what eventually happened the punching victim but hoped he had made a full recovery.
"We did what we did by instinct, thanks to our training, and I hope he ended up okay," said Private Chapman.
- By Mohamed Hassan of APNZ