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Aug 28, 2019 2:07:39 PM

U.S. Navy HMI DeSantis to receive Angels of the Battlefield Award

U.S. Navy HM1 DeSantis receiving for his commendable medical abilities deployed in the Philippines attached to U.S. Marine Corps

2019-HQ-Angel-MC-DeSantisThe Armed Services YMCA is pleased to announce HM1 Victor J. DeSantis of the U.S. Navy as the 2019 Angels of the Battlefield Award recipient for the Marine Corps. DeSantis' commendable medical abilities while deployed in support of Operation Pacific Eagle in the Philippines saved many lives.  

It's tough to get DeSantis to talk about his own work there. He is glad to share the story of the work of everyone.

"The biggest thing is getting not just [my story out], but the story out of the work everyone is doing down in Jolo Island and the stuff that continues to go on there," DeSantis said. "I was there for six to seven months, but for a lot of those people it’s a year-round, never ending thing... It’s still an on-going issue, there’s still to this day casualties being taken and treated there. If anything I hope this award draws some light to all the work that those people are doing down there."

Marine Battalion Landing Team-Three was in a firefight on Aug. 12, 2018, about 4 km from Camp Bautista and sustained two injuries. The first had a gunshot wound to the chest near the clavicle. DeSantis placed a chest seal and performed a needle decompression of the right chest. DeSantis also took over a tubal thoracotomy, placing the thoracic tube. The second had a gunshot wound in the arm with an arterial bleed. A tourniquet in place for about 12 hours was released, putting the patient at risk for shock. DeSantis directed nurses to establish bilateral large bore IVs to administer normal saline and a Foley catheter to monitor fluid output. He began cardiac monitoring and prepared advanced cardiac life support medications. The patient's heart held a normal rhythm as DeSantis led the hospital staff through his crush syndrome protocol. By the time the medevac helicopter arrived, the vital signs of both patients had stabilized. 

DeSantis also helped to improve care. Realizing Camp Bautista Hospital had an ultrasound machine and no personnel were aware of its capabilities, DeSantis put together a seminar and instructed the staff on the operation and application of the device. He also spent 75 hours instructing base medics and infantry personnel in Basic Tactical Combat Casualty Care and lifesaving interventions. When a Philippine Force Recon Marine had an arterial bleed, this instruction helped with treatment in the field, successfully preserving the life.


DeSantis’ efforts during his tenure in the Jolo/Sulu Archipelago saved many lives. He improved the efficiency of Camp Bautista Hospital and advanced the level of care provided. His mentorship and instruction significantly strengthen the skill of host national medical counterparts.

We are pleased to honor Angel of the Battlefield award recipient U.S. Navy HM1 Victor J.  DeSantis.

DeSantis is from San Diego, and the father of one child. He enlisted in the Navy in 2005. His father, two uncles and grandfather also served in the military. His personal decorations include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Valor, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Valor (two awards), and the Combat Action Ribbon.

The Angels of the Battlefield Awards Gala is an Armed Services YMCA signature event honoring the individual men and women on the front lines who are saving lives and have demonstrated extraordinary courage. The Armed Services YMCA recognizes a single individual from each military branch for their accomplishments.   

The annual Angels of the Battlefield Gala is Oct. 29 at the Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City in Arlington, Va. Angels is the only event which recognizes the front line actions of military medical personnel.    

The Armed Services YMCA is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit that serves currently serving military members and their families. In 2018, we engaged more than 225,000 people in our programs and delivered nearly 1 million points of services to junior enlisted Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen, Coast Guardsmen and family members at 200 service centers in 18 states. The Armed Services YMCA is a nonprofit with a mission: Strengthening Our Military Family.