Airlifter of the Week: Leading from the front

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jennifer Gonzales
  • 86th Airlift Wing

The 86th Airlift Wing recognized Tech. Sgt. Cesar Soto-Betancourt, 86th Dental Squadron general dentistry noncommissioned officer in charge, Nov. 19, 2020, as airlifter of the week for his leadership and adaptability under pressure.

When one hears the word ‘dentistry’ they may hear the distant whirring of a phantom dental tool or imagine themselves sitting around in a waiting room. For those who may be a little less motivated to go to the dentist, know that the team there truly cares and enjoys helping people.

“What I like about dentistry is that it’s very diverse,” Soto-Betancourt said. “There’s so many things you can take away from just being in the career field, whether you’re doing surgeries or simple fillings on patients.”

Dental work is only half of the fun, though. Soto-Betancourt and his team also train frequently and participate in base-wide exercises. It was during these events that Soto-Betancourt shined as a leader.

During exercise Ready Eagle, Soto-Betancourt directed the medical group’s largest medical contingency response team, which consisted of more than 40 people. They were able to successfully respond to a point of distribution and mass casualty exercise in which they showcased their readiness and cohesion.

“We were able to train and execute right away and see where our deficiencies were, which we corrected on the spot,” Soto-Betancourt said. “It was good to have all of our people out there go over what we would do if an incident did happen.”

During the mass casualty exercise, they processed 26 patients while providing self-aid and buddy care and transported those who were more severely injured to a higher echelon of care. The Manpower and Security Team also assisted and processed 100 patients while they maintained positive control of the operations.

“Manpower and Security are a separate part of dentistry,” Soto-Betancourt explained. They help ensure protocols are followed correctly in the event of elevated force protection conditions.

Furthermore, Soto-Betancourt served as the alternate clinical dentistry flight chief. He was responsible for overseeing 95 active duty Airmen and five local national employees.

“Everyone always has something they have to take care of, so we try to accommodate,” Soto-Betancourt said. “It becomes stressful making sure that providers are still seeing patients, making sure they [have the staff to support them] and the tools they need, so they can just focus at work.”

There are many moving parts to this ever-changing puzzle, but rest assured, Soto-Betancourt and his team have the mission covered. His drive and motivation skyrocket when he sees that perfect smile.