LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — A pair of Acadiana La. National Guard (LANG) soldiers were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross this week for saving local students’ lives.

According to LANG Public Affairs Spokesperson Warrant Officer Thea James, the awardees included Sgt. Christian M. Jaubert of Broussard and Staff Sgt. Dillon J. Mandeville of New Iberia. The pair were honored Tuesday, May 31 at the Tiger Den in Lafayette.

U.S. Army National Guard photo by Warrant Officer Thea T. James

James said the two soldiers “performed life-saving techniques and rendered immediate aid to the victims in need, while simultaneously providing 911 operators and parents with information on the injured students … The LANG Distinguished Service Cross is awarded to any active LANG soldier who, while serving honorably, distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism which did not justify a LANG Medal of Honor. This heroic act must set the individual apart from his comrades and involve risk of life.”

“The Soldiers distinguished themselves while responding to a near-fatal vehicle accident,” said LANG Adjutant General Maj. Gen. D. Keith Waddell in the award order. “Their quick thinking and decisive action saved the life of one victim and mitigated the impact of this traumatic event for several others. Victims and families affected by this event will be forever grateful, and their impact will not be soon forgotten.”

“Most people would have panicked in that situation, but because of the training I have, I knew what to do; there was no hesitation to assist the civilians,” said Jaubert. “I feel like it was kind of my responsibility to help in that situation because I had the knowledge, and I feel like God put me in the right place at the right time. I was glad that I was there to do that.”

Mandeville said, “I didn’t know the extent of the injuries the pedestrians sustained, but I did know I needed to respond immediately. With the multitude of trainings I received in the Louisiana National Guard I knew I could effectively perform triage safely until paramedics arrived.”

“The CLS [Combat Life Saver] training classes teach you skills that help instilled a sense of calmness in the mist of chaos and to be a calming voice for the victims,” said Mandeville. “It was a comforting feeling knowing that the kids were fine.”