9th MSC aids in dental care

| March 29, 2013 | 0 Comments
1st Sgt. Patricia Van Drunen (left), first sergeant, 143rd Dental Company, who is also a trained military  dental hygienist, examines the teeth of a 9th Mission Support Command American Samoa-based Reserve Soldier during a dental care mission at the Pele U.S. Army Reserve Center, March 22.

1st Sgt. Patricia Van Drunen (left), first sergeant, 143rd Dental Company, who is also a trained military
dental hygienist, examines the teeth of a 9th Mission Support Command American Samoa-based Reserve Soldier during a dental care mission at the Pele U.S. Army Reserve Center, March 22.

Story and photos by
Sgt. Elizabeth Cole
305th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, 9th Mission Support Command

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa — Hawaii-based Soldiers of the 9th Mission Support Command traveled thousands of miles to the remote island of American Samoa to assist in providing invaluable dental care to more than 250 American Samoa-based Reserve Soldiers at the Pele U.S. Army Reserve Center, here, March 22-27.

Also participating in the event were Soldiers of the 143rd Dental Company, based in Salt Lake City, and civilians with Logistics Health International, also known as LHI.

Through collaboration of the Soldiers and civilians providing the dental care, the local Reservists were provided with cleanings, examinations and treatments, to include fillings, root canals and extractions — services that are not as readily available, here, because of geographic location.

A team of dentists work diligently to extract the wisdom teeth of a 9th MSC American Samoa-based Reserve Soldier.

A team of dentists work diligently to extract the wisdom teeth of a 9th MSC American Samoa-based Reserve Soldier.

“The level and availability of this type of treatment is not a viable option for our Soldiers, and it’s great to see how the 9th MSC and the Army Reserve supports us out here,” said Capt. Charles Scheck, commander, Company B, 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry Regiment.

“This provides one less training distraction, so we can focus on our mission,” Scheck added.

In total, the team spent nearly two weeks in American Samoa to prepare for and execute the mission, as well as to tear down and reset the site. However, the team felt they could’ve used more time.

“The main frustration we have is that we can’t do everything we need to in such a small amount of time and for such appreciative people,” said Col. David Julian, commander, 143rd Dental Co.

“But, even in the time we’ve spent, everything we’ve done has been a great benefit and has improved the health of the Soldiers substantially,” Julian added.

This year is the third the 9th MSC has sent teams of Soldiers to provide dental care to the American Samoa-based Reservists, having treated more than 700 people to date.

In order to provide more comprehensive treatment, the 9th MSC asked the LHI team to participate this year, as well.

“The teamwork between the Soldiers and civilians has been amazing. Each group has been able to cross-train and pick up skills from one another they may have not acquired otherwise,” said Sgt. 1st Class Craig Martin, senior medical liaison noncommissioned officer in charge, U.S. Army Reserve Theater Support Group–Pacific, and NCOIC of the event.

“This has been an incredible opportunity for our dental team to practice and refine their skills while helping other Soldiers,” added Julian. “That’s really the whole purpose of our mission, to benefit these Soldiers, and we saw a lot of smiles when we finished.”

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