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Medical Airman seeks leadership opportunities, earns Airlifter of the Week

An award winner examines his new challenge coin

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Pedro De Los Santos, 86th Medical Group COVID-19 operations senior enlisted leader, examines the 86th Airlift Wing coin after being recognized as the 86th AW Airlifter of the Week at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Sept. 24, 2020. De Los Santos managed COVID-19 operations for the 86th Medical Group. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Trevor Rhynes)

Two individuals inspecting paperwork.

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Pedro De Los Santos, 86th Medical Group COVID-19 operations senior enlisted leader, checks in with Airman 1st Class Brittany Lomax, 86th Medical Group screening augmentee at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Sept. 28, 2020. De Los Santos is responsible for a team of augmentees who screen patients before allowing entry to the 86th MDG to limit potential exposure or spread of COVID. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Trevor Rhynes)

Tech. Sgt. Pedro De Los Santos, 86th Medical Group COVID-19 operations senior enlisted leader, interacts with a patient at the entrance to the 86th Medical Group

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Pedro De Los Santos, 86th Medical Group COVID-19 operations senior enlisted leader, interacts with a patient at the entrance to the 86th Medical Group at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Sept. 28, 2020. Screening at the MDG ensures patients get the right care while limiting the potential exposure to COVID. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Trevor Rhynes)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany --

An 86th Medical Group Airman was selected as Airlifter of the Week for his role in managing the 86th Medical Group COVID-19 screening area at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Sept. 24, 2020.

Tech. Sgt. Pedro De Los Santos, 86th MDG COVID-19 operations senior enlisted leader, excelled by leading a group of augmentees as they provide screening for patients prior to entering the clinic, operating drive-in testing for COVID-19, and the pharmacy tent.

“Tech. Sgt. De Los Santos has proven time and time again he is a leader not only in his field, but also in leading the medical group’s COVID operations management,” said Senior Master Sgt. Gauna, 86th Healthcare Operations Squadron superintendent.

De Los Santos sought out new opportunities to lead Airmen, which is why he was selected to lead COVID-19 operations for the 86th MDG.

“I was looking for a challenge and my leadership found one for me,” De Los Santos said. “They needed someone with experience running a flight. I had that experience and I’m glad I get to interact with my fellow medics.”

Before managing the COVID-19 operations, De Los Santos was the physical therapy flight chief where he focused on patient rehabilitation.

“By design, PT technicians are not involved in medical patient triage or sick call on a day to day basis,” Gauna said. “But De Los Santos took the responsibility of being the COVID-19 operations senior enlisted leader and utilized his strategic talent and abilities to ensure operational efficiency out in the tents. Thus far, since he became the SEL, COVID-19 operations flow is at its smoothest.

There was no doubt in our minds he is most deserving to be recognized,” Gauna continued. “This Airman had taken on COVID operational challenges that were presented to him even though his primary AFSC is mostly about patient rehabilitation.”

“I might be the individual recognized but this really is a team effort,” De Los Santos said. “There’s a lot of Airmen doing the heavy lifting.”