Pedro N. Rivera

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Pedro N. Rivera
BGEN Pedro Rivera.jpg
Brigadier General Pedro N. Rivera
The first Hispanic to be named medical commander in the Air Force.
Born 1945 (age 71–72)
San German, Puerto Rico
Allegiance United States United States of America
Service/branch Seal of the US Air Force.svg United States Air Force
Years of service 1974-1997
Rank US-O7 insignia.svg
Brigadier General
Commands held Malcolm Grow Medical Center at Andrews Air Force Base
81st Medical Group at Keesler Air Force Base
Awards Legion of Merit
Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters

Brigadier General Pedro N. Rivera, M.D. (born 1945) is a retired United States Air Force officer who in 1994 became the first Hispanic to be named medical commander in the Air Force. He was responsible for the provision of health care to more than 50,000 patients.[1]

Early years[edit]

Rivera was born in San German, Puerto Rico, a city located on the western coast of the island. There he received his primary and secondary education. After he graduated from high school, he was accepted as a student at the Mayaguez campus of the University of Puerto Rico. In 1967, Rivera earned his Bachelor's degree in biology. He continued his academic education at the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine and, in 1971, he earned his Medical degree in pediatrics. Rivera worked as the chief resident in pediatrics at the University Hospital in Puerto Rico's Medical Center.

Military career[edit]

On August 1974, Rivera joined the United States Air Force at the rank of captain and was assigned as staff pediatrician at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana until May 1976, during which time he was promoted to major. He was then reassigned as staff pediatrician at Malcolm Grow Medical Center, Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.

On September 1977, he was named chief of pediatric services of Malcolm Grow Medical Center and on March 1980, was named chairman of the Department of Pediatrics. On June 15 of that same year, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel. He served at Malcolm Grow until July 1983, when he was transferred to the U.S. Air Force Regional Hospital, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida as chief of hospital services. On September 20, 1984, Rivera was promoted to colonel, and in November 1984 he was named commander of the 56th Medical Group.

On May 1986, Rivera was reassigned to Headquarters Tactical Air Command at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia as deputy command surgeon and director of professional services. He served at Langley until May 1990, when he was sent to Bolling Air Force Base in Washington D.C. for one year, where he assumed the responsibilities of deputy director of medical plans and resources for the Office of the Surgeon General.

From September 1991 to June 1993, Rivera served as command surgeon at Headquarters Pacific Air Forces in Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii; then from June 1993 to August 1994, as commander of the Malcolm Grow Medical Center at Andrews Air Force Base.

On August 1, 1994, Rivera was promoted to the rank of brigadier general and named commander of the 81st Medical Group at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. As commander, he was responsible for the provision of health care to more than 50,000 patients in the Keesler area and for providing referral and consultative services for an additional 605,000 beneficiaries in a five state region (Department of Defense Region IV). His responsibilities included ensuring the availability of major war-and peacetime medical readiness response forces and also the direction of all managed health care activities in DoD Region IV.

Rivera was the director of five graduate medical education programs and extensive clinical research program by one of three Air Force clinical research laboratories. He led more than 2,000 health care professionals and managed a local budget of $179 million and a regional managed care contract of $3.8 billion. Rivera retired from the Air Force on October 1, 1997.[2]

Later years[edit]

Rivera is a licensed physician in the states of Louisiana, Mississippi and in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. He is also a member of the American Medical Association. He currently resides and continues to practice his medical profession in Alexandria, Virginia.[3]

Military decorations and awards[edit]

Among Brigadier General Rivera's military decorations are the following:


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ildelfonso Lopez, Tras las Huellas de Nuestro Paso, Pg. 40, Publisher: AEELA, 1998, Retrieved June 25, 2007.
  2. ^ Air Force Link
  3. ^ Healthpages