News: Dental Corps celebrates 102nd birthday
By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Loni Lopez
YOKOSUKA, Japan – Sailors aboard the U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) celebrated the Dental Corps 102nd birthday with an event held Aug. 22.
George Washington’s dental department is tasked with maintaining the dental health of ship’s company; Commander, Task Force 70; and its embarked air wing, Carrier Wing (CVW) 5.
“Dental personnel have always played a significant role in maintaining operational readiness, especially in the early World Wars,” said Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Caleb Koonce. “Today we have the opportunity to celebrate that legacy.”
The Dental Corps was established in 1912 by an act passed by Congress and signed by President William Howard Taft. Their primary mission remains to prevent and remedy dental conditions that may interfere with the performance of duty by members of the naval forces.
“As a hospital corpsman I work hand in hand with the officers,” said Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Amber Brace. “Celebrating the Dental Corps birthday with them offers us a chance to support them on this very momentous occasion.”
The ceremony included a reading of birthday messages from the Navy Dental Corps’ chiefs and the force master chief.
“As members of the Navy Medicine team, we have supported Sailors, Marines, and family members at home and abroad since our official inception in 1912,” wrote Rear Adm. Stephen Pachuta, chief, Navy Dental Corps. “Today our remarkable team of active and reserve dental officers, hospital corpsman, civilians and contractors continue to provide the highest level of oral healthcare and compassion to our Sailors, Marines and their loved ones, all over the world.”
The ceremony concluded with the cutting of the cake by two of George Washington’s dental officers, Cmdr. Ron Citro and Lt. Cmdr. Michael Grau.
“It’s tremendous being a part of a community with such a rich heritage,” said Grau. “This celebration offers the opportunity to really reflect on what this community has done and reminds me just how proud I am to be a part of this history.”
More than 2,500 active duty and reserve Dental Corps personnel serve and support Sailors, Marines and their families throughout the world.
George Washington and CVW 5 provide a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interest of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.