News: Sailors set up field dental station
Story by Cpl. Kenneth Jasik
MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER, Calif. – For Marines and sailors training in the desert here, oral care is not too far away.
Thanks to a few sailors with 1st Marine Logistics Group, dental exams can be performed from a small dental office that works out of a tent located near the training site where Marines with 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division are conducting Operation Urban Thunder.
The Dental office provides exams and cleanings to the personnel of 7th Marines and 1st Tank Battalion, 1st MarDiv.
“Offering our services to these Marines makes them very happy to get service right in their back yard while they’re out here,” said Navy Lt. Stephen M. Wade, dental officer, Combat Logistics Regiment 1, 1st MLG. “We’ve been open from 0800 to 2100 so we can cater to everyone.”
Despite the desert setting, the mobile dental office provides the same quality services that Marines would find in a less austere environment.
“We’re able to provide the same care you would get in garrison out here in a field environment,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Marcos M. Romero, hospital corpsman dental assistant, CLR-1, 1st MLG. “We do cleanings, exams and even X-rays. The advantage of us being out here is that we come to you instead of you having to come to us.”
With no buildings or utilities, the sailors faced the unique challenge of setting up a dental office head-on.
“The conditions are definitely not ideal, but we’re definitely making it work,” said Wade, 30, from Montserrat, West Indies. “For one, the heat. Also, we don’t have a complete floor, but we’re making it work.”
These challenges are relatively unforeseen for these sailors because rarely do they set up operations like this, but the dental techs and the dentist said they enjoy having an opportunity to work in a new kind of environment.
“I’m just proud to be out here,” said Romero, 22, from Las Vegas. “This gives us a sense of purpose and accomplishment along with a little joy because the Marines are watching our back.”