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NEWS | July 18, 2018

143rd Dental Company trains in quality care

By Pvt. Hunter Eastman Exercise News Day

A mobile dental operation, containing about a dozen pop-up tents, is mission-ready at the Global Medic exercise with the help of roughly 60 Soldiers here. 

This exercise is for Soldiers, including those from the 143rd Dental Company (DC) from Salt Lake City, to practice their profession in a training environment and help perfect their skills and overall readiness during a real-world situation. 

An essential piece of training is creating an environment similar to actual deployments - an austere location where medical staff are ready to move when called upon while maintaining the ability to treat and save lives.

“We have to stay on top of everything, so we can be battle-ready,” said Capt. Kevin Hopes, a dental specialist with the 143rd DC. “The idea is to move out and be prepared to help Soldiers and support a mission.”

Providing care anywhere and everywhere is the goal of this unit. In order to achieve that goal, they have been running through different training exercises and performing tasks such as X-raying a patient’s teeth, diagnosing patient ailments, and working scenario-based challenges only a dentist and their assistants could solve with their unique set of skills.

“Our mission is to provide quality dental care to the Soldiers,” said Maj. Robert Berry, a dentist, and the officer-in-charge of the 143rd DC during this exercise. 

Soldiers are America’s ultimate weapon and the 143rd DC ensures they are ready to fight and defend the country using their knowledge to mend a toothache, perform root canals, and other dental procedures.

Berry stated that a toothache may seem like a minor inconvenience, but for a deployed Soldier, it could be a show stopper. This is why dental care is so important for any operation. 

The 143rd DC is not only training in dental care, but is furthering their understanding of warrior tasks and drills because, as U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers, when deployed to combat, they need to be ready for anything. 

“If we need to fight, we have to be ready,” said Hope. “So our Soldiers are training in warrior tasks, too.”

Dental clinics, like the 143rd DC, have joined with other medical staff at Global Medic this year to develop the collective ability to exercise and evaluate their skills in a rigorous and realistic training environment. The exercise incorporates scenarios that employ the full range of medical functions and situations, coupled with events to test basic Soldier skills, that help build a well-rounded U.S. Army Reserve professional.