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Asking for success

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Madelyn Keech
  • 86 AW/PA

Senior Airman Alexander Peterson, 86th Medical Group human performance and ophthalmic technician, was awarded Airlifter of the Week at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, July 15, 2021.

Peterson was nominated AotW for his problem-solving across the installation, including working with the 86th Maintenance Group to streamline their root cause analysis process improvement.

Peterson wanted to join the military to make things better for the United States and other countries.

Originally, he came into the military trying to be a survival, evasion, resistance and escape specialist, but was unable to medically qualify for the field.

“They pushed me over to medical, and I had put down all these jobs like security forces,” he said. “It was by chance that I got into this career field, but I’m really lucky that I did.”

Peterson spends his day working with an ophthalmologist performing vision tests and providing additional care for patients. 

On his project with the 86 MXG, Peterson contributed solutions to their root cause analysis process improvement for the human performance aspect of his job. The project focused on finding the root cause of why Airmen failed quality inspections on aircraft systems.

“He designed a streamlined questionnaire and flowcharts, eliminating the need for 144 questions, effectively reducing mishap investigation times by 90 percent,” said Senior Master Sgt. Gabriel Canales, 86 MDG superintendent.

The questionnaire gave Airmen a more transparent voice with their leadership to find root causes of quality inspection failures.

“It finds out what’s going on with those Airmen and if they need assistance with anything, or gets down to the real root cause of the issue,” Peterson said.

Peterson was recognized by the 86 MXG commander with a letter of appreciation.

“Coming here to Ramstein, I really liked my job because of how awesome our teammates are,” said Peterson. “They’ve been really helpful and motivating and giving me a lot of opportunities for success.”

Peterson said he likes the human performance aspect of his job. Outside of work, he spends a lot of time working out, and reads about what the U.S. Air Force Academy is doing in regards to human performance.

“They have one of the most modern programs for their sports teams,” he said. “I do a lot of research into what we can do to make not just the medical group better, but to make the airlift wing better.”

Peterson said his favorite part of his job is getting to interact with all the patients and people he meets every day.

“When I’m feeling overwhelmed, it’s our patients that just keep me going,” he said. “The last thing someone who worked a long shift wants is to come into a medical appointment and have a bad experience. The thing that keeps me going is just making a small difference in someone’s day because you never know what it means to that person.”