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XLer of the Week: Senior Airman Christopher Dunning

Senior Airman Christopher Dunning, a 47th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron Mental Health flight chief, was chosen by wing leadership to be the “XLer of the Week” of Sept. 16, 2019 at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Marco A. Gomez)

Senior Airman Christopher Dunning, a 47th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron Mental Health technician, receives an award from Col. Todd Dyer, 47th Flying Training Wing vice commander at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Sept. 18, 2019. Dunning was chosen by wing leadership to be the “XLer of the Week” of Sept. 16, 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Marco A. Gomez)

Senior Airman Christopher Dunning, a 47th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron Mental Health flight chief, was chosen by wing leadership to be the “XLer of the Week” of Sept. 16, 2019 at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Marco A. Gomez)

The 47th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron Mental Health flight poses for a picture at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Sept. 18, 2019. Senior Airman Christopher Dunning, 47th OMRS Mental Health technician was chosen by wing leadership to be the “XLer of the Week” of Sept. 16, 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Marco A. Gomez)

LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – Senior Airman Christopher Dunning, a 47th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron Mental Health technician, was chosen by wing leadership to be the “XLer of the Week” of Sept. 16, 2019 at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas.

Dunning had a key role during Laughlin’s tactical pause where his team had the opportunity to ensure that anyone who was involved in the incident had someone to talk to.

“It’s not every day that we, as a community, have to go through tragedies, thankfully,” said Dunning. ”When these tragedies occur, our physical bodies react in ‘strange’ but normal ways. As [the] mental health team, we are readily available to help normalize these reactions to the abnormal situation.”

Dunning filled the flight chief position, due to his supervisor retiring earlier this year. Since given the opportunity, Dunning grew tremendously as a person and leader.

“I believe that being in this position has helped our team grow in many aspects,” he said. “These aspects are communication, interpersonal relationships, and team goals.”

Aside from taking on the challenge of leading the mental health team, Dunning has instructed professional development classes on workplace communication, effectively sharpening active listening skills for other XL medics.

“Communication is a skill that everyone needs to continue to work on, as it is key when it comes to ensuring our patients at the 47th Medical Group are taken care of,” he said.

For Dunning’s key effort during Laughlin’s tactical pause, leading his team as the flight chief through the absence of a supervisor and developing Airmen on communication skills, Dunning has earned this week’s “XLer of the Week.”