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NEWS | June 23, 2010

Warrior of the Week: Senior Airman Paolo Santos

By SSgt. Daniel Bowles Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

Senior Airman Paolo Santos, 15th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, has been stationed at Joint Base Charleston for two years and is slated to deploy to the Middle East in support of Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom.

His regular duties include weight and balance calculations, checking of cargo restraints and ensuring the safe placement of cargo and or personnel to keep the aircraft within its permissible limitations allowing it to safely take off and land.

"My role is to move this important materiel to its destination needed by our deployed service members in the area of responsibility," he said. "I believe moving the mission to where it is needed is my biggest contribution to Team Charleston; knowing that I am making a great deal of impact to the warfighter capabilities - to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan."

While deployed, daily duties for Airman Santos will be much the same, he said, but the distance from friends and family will not. He has deployed before, and said the separation will still take some getting used to.

"The amenities that technology and modernization have brought even to the most austere of locations has allowed us to keep in touch with our friends and family, but the feeling is just not the same, so keeping yourself busy keeps my mind from drifting to the feelings of homesickness," he said.

Used as a way to manage the strain of deployment, staying busy also helps keeps Airman Santos educated.

"I am currently jumpstarting my graduate education in business and is looking forward to finishing it within a couple of years," he said.

His interests include caring for animals, keeping fit at the gym with weight training and immersing himself in his favorite music.

"I have a passion for music. When I'm not on the road and I have some time, I try to play my guitar or try to learn how to play the ukulele," he said.

This "warrior of the week" hails from Houston, Texas, and was born in Manila, Philippines. He joined the Air Force in 2007.

"Senior Airman Santos has exceeded every expectation I have set for him," said Staff Sgt. Charles Reimer, 437th Operations Support Squadron airdrop instructor loadmaster. "He is more than deserving of being a Warrior of the Week, as well as every other accolade he has received."