|Story & photo by Rob Schuette, Public Affairs Staff
Soldiers who want to be prepared for deployment need to ensure they have
taken care of all of their pre-deployment needs, including having their
dental readiness up to date.
Spc. Tylethia Houston, (left)
dental specialist, 350th Detachment, Charleston, S.C., and Maj.
Djuana Beruk, dentist, 380th Dental Company, Memphis, Tenn., do
a filling during Operation Ready Warrior, which provided dental
services to Army Reserve Soldiers involved in Operations Diamond
Saber, Essayons and Red Dragon at Fort McCoy.
Operation Ready Warrior (ORW) was held at Fort McCoy June 4-18 to
help support those dental needs. Lt. Col. Marcia Lewis, commander of the
810th Medical Company (Dental Support), said Army Reserve Dental
personnel conducted dental screenings to help Army Reserve Soldiers
participating in Operations Red Dragon (Homeland Defense), Essayons
(engineer, troop projects) and Diamond Saber (finance) take care of any
dental issues that could affect their deployment status.
Dental facilities were established at Contingency Operating Location
Freedom and at two cantonment area locations to serve the troops, Lewis
Sgt. Maj. Ernest Sanders, chief medical noncommissioned officer for
Dental Support in the 3rd Medical Command Deployment Support (3D MDSC),
said ORW ran from 8 a.m.-10 p.m. daily Some of the services provided
were general examinations, panorex or bite wing X-rays and teeth
cleaning, treating impacted teeth and/or providing fillings.
The 3D MDSC, which is located at Fort Gillem, Ga., is the parent unit of
all deployable medical units east of the Mississippi except those in the
Great Lakes region. The 810th is one of the companies in one of the 3D
MDSC’s five Medical Brigades. Sanders participated in ORW to demonstrate
the importance the Army Reserve puts on Dental Readiness.
“This was to provide the services at a time most convenient to the
Soldiers,” Sanders said. “The purpose of the work is to keep the
Soldiers in service.”
1st Sgt. Debbie Williams of the 810th said ORW is a follow-up to last
year’s Ready Response Reserve Unit (R3U) dental program held during the
Combat Support Training Exercise from July-August 2010.
“We are continuing the same standards and quality of care conducted last
year on the R3U missions,” Williams said. “The 810th is dedicated to
ensuring the Soldier’s dental needs are addressed and met. The mission
is only successful when this occurs.”
Lewis said Soldiers’ dental needs are ranked in four categories, with
the lowest classes of I or II meaning their teeth are relatively healthy
and they would be considered deployment ready.
The next two classes of III or IV can render Soldiers nondeployable.
Class IV identifies those who haven’t had a dental examination in a year
or more, while class III identifies those who have had an exam, but need
“Dental hygiene comes in secondary in the field when Soldiers are
worried about their survival,” Lewis said. “Each Soldier who comes
through ORW is given an oral hygiene instructor care packet to help them
practice good dental care.”
Many Soldiers don’t realize dental readiness starts by establishing good
dental habits, such as regular brushing and flossing, Lewis said.
Sanders added putting off fixing dental concerns often can make them
worse and prevent Soldiers from fulfilling their duties.
“We want to keep Soldiers on duty and in the fight,” Sanders said. “This
also gives the dental people the experience they need. The dentists do
this every day at work, and although many of the dental specialists
don’t they are very efficient at what they do.”
Sanders and Lewis said ORW coordinated with the Dental Activity and
Troop Medical Clinic personnel at Fort McCoy to help ensure all Soldiers
received proper dental care.
The records are digitized, which means they can be uploaded to an
Armywide system and dental personnel can have access to them throughout
the Army wherever the Soldier is serving, Sanders said.