Airlifter of the Week: 86th MDS Airman lauded for excellence

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Elizabeth Baker
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Nicolas Bertuna, 86th Medical Squadron aerospace medical technician, received the honor of being named Ramstein’s Airlifter of the Week, Dec. 3, 2019.

A Georgia native, Bertuna joined the Air Force about a year and a half ago hoping to be assigned to the medical career field. After arriving at his first duty station, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany, he immediately stood out to his leadership, hence the nomination as Airlifter of the Week. This program recognizes Ramstein Airmen who, through hard work and dedication, help make the 86th Airlift Wing the “World’s Best Wing.”

“I was shocked to get the award,” Bertuna said. “I was just doing my thing every day-- challenging myself mentally and physically.”

Bertuna provided medical support and influenza vaccines at 20 events across four installations. He saved the Air Force 76 man hours and helped administer more than 66,000 influenza vaccinations. He also took initiative to lead a team which transported vaccines to five child development centers in the Kaiserslautern Military Community. This mission was vital to providing flu vaccinations for 30 CDC staff members who could not receive them otherwise.

In addition to his professional distinction for medical capabilities, Bertuna also contributes to the achievement of physical excellence. He is the only Airman at LRMC who leads U.S. Army physical training three times a week which led to the Air Force and Army pass rates increased from 97% to 99%.

“I started going to Army physical training because they were saying, ‘I bet you won’t show up,’” Bertuna said. “I kept coming back and I felt like it built their morale.”

Bertuna exemplifies the Air Force value of “excellence in all we do,” which directs Airmen to develop a long-term passion for the continuous improvement that drives success.                                                                                                        

“Airman Bertuna is a pleasure to be around,” said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Paul Loera, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center Alpha Company noncommissioned officer in charge. “He’s got a positive attitude and is always willing to go the extra mile to accomplish whatever mission we give him. He’s always asking for more responsibility.”

Those who want to make a difference can stand out among others so long as they are willing to challenge themselves, Bertuna said.  

“It took me a while to get noticed,” Bertuna said. “I was just going one day at a time and asking myself ‘how can I make myself better than yesterday? How can I be a stronger asset to the team?’”

Intent on continuing his pursuit of excellence, Bertuna has set his sights on applying for the Nurse Enlisted Commissioning Program in 2021.